Air Canada Adds New Caribbean Route From Toronto

Air Canada is adding a new route to the Dominican Republic this winter. Starting on December 16th, the airline will add two weekly flights to Santo Domingo from its largest hub in Toronto. The route will run onboard Air Canada Rouge aircraft and target leisure-focused travelers that are powering the recovery.

Air Canada Adds New Caribbean Route From Toronto
Air Canada is using its Rouge subsidiary to launch a new route to the Caribbean this December. Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada’s new route

Starting December 16th, Air Canada will connect its hub at Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) to Las Américas International Airport (SDQ) in the Dominican Republic. Flights will run twice per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the following schedule (all times are local):

  • AC1722 will depart Toronto at 09:05 and arrive in Santo Domingo at 14:25
  • AC1723 will depart Santo Domingo at 15:40 and arrive in Toronto at 19:15
Air Canada Adds New Caribbean Route From Toronto
Air Canada’s new SDQ-YYZ route. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper

Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President of Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada, stated the following on the new route:

“As travel restrictions ease, we are committed to rebuilding our international network to connect the world to Canada, reunite people with families, friends, and business colleagues. Our Santo Domingo flights connect to and from our flights across Canada at our Toronto global hub to offer easy and convenient access to Dominican Republic’s capital city, a destination that is steeped in rich culture, history including location of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in addition to being the country’s commercial and financial [center].”

Air Canada Rouge

Air Canada will run this route using its Air Canada Rouge subsidiary. This is the airline’s low-cost arm that primarily operates leisure-focused routes. These new flights will run on a mix of Airbus A321 and A319 aircraft.

Rouge will offer two classes. One is a premium economy class and the other is a standard economy service. In “Premium Rouge,” customers will get priority check-in and boarding, access to the Maple Leaf Lounge, and a meal onboard with complimentary alcoholic beverages.

Air Canada Adds New Caribbean Route From Toronto
SDQ is a destination with strong leisure demand and extensive service from US airlines, so it could work for Air Canada. Photo: Air Canada

The Rouge fleet recently became an all-narrowbody one. All of Air Canada’s Rouge aircraft offer streaming entertainment through a web browser. Unlike Air Canada planes, Rouge does not offer a seatback entertainment system.

Rebuilding schedules

Air Canada is working on rebuilding its route network. South America is coming back strong and, next year, the airline is planning a robust recovery in its transatlantic market. Year-round service will come back to cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lyon, Madrid, and Milan. Summer seasonal flights to Iceland, Nice, Manchester, Edinburgh, Athens, and Cairo will also be coming back.

New routes are also on Air Canada’s horizon. The carrier announced a new route connecting Montreal to New Delhi, starting on October 31st. Earlier this month, Air Canada inaugurated flights to Orange County, California.

Air Canada Adds New Caribbean Route From Toronto
Air Canada is rebuilding its schedules, and for now, the focus is more on leisure than business. Photo: Air Canada

Canada has reopened to fully vaccinated travelers. Soon, the country will institute a requirement for all air travelers to be fully vaccinated. The release of the vaccine has been the key driver to reopening Canada’s borders and bringing back Air Canada’s schedules.

However, it is continuing to bet on leisure-focused routes. Business travelers are coming back, though leisure travelers are still key to the recovery. Visiting friends and relatives (VFR) traffic is also relatively high compared to business travelers. So, for now, leisure-oriented routes like these are the ones to expect in the near term.