New options in the already competitive trans-Pacific market will open up next year when Air Canada and VIrgin Australia enter a "strategic co-operation" agreement to codeshare on each other’s flights.
The first stage of the agreement is due to get underway early in the year when Air Canada passengers will be able to book codeshare flights within Australia and Virgin Australia customers will be able to book on Air Canada flights from Los Angeles to Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.
Passengers arriving on Air Canada’s daily services from Vancouver to Brisbane and Sydney will be able to travel on connecting Virgin Australia flights to Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth, Christchurch and Auckland. Codesharing will also be available on Virgin Australia services from Sydney to Brisbane, Sydney to the Gold Coast and Brisbane to Wellington.
Aeroplan members will earn Aeroplan Miles when travelling on the Virgin codeshare services and Virgin passengers will get Velocity points on the flights between LA and the four Canadian destinations.
A later stage of the agreement will see the carriers offer reciprocal frequent flyer redemption benefits and Virgin plans to place its code on Air Canada’s direct flights between Australia and Vancouver.
“We are thrilled to be working closely with a world-class airline in Air Canada to deliver new benefits for our customers, including the planned introduction of direct codeshare flights between Australia and Canada,’’ Virgin Australia group executive John Thomas said in a statement.
“Our agreement with Air Canada will provide our frequent flyers with more opportunities to earn – and soon redeem – Velocity Points.
“Canada is also an important inbound tourism market for Australia, with visitors spending AU800 million in 2015 and visitor arrivals increasing by three per cent.”