A plane swap begins on Sunday, when Air Canada substitutes its new Air Canada rouge division on flights between Las Vegas and Toronto.
Bringing in Air Canada rouge will result in fewer flights, 10 a week instead of the 14 in November 2012 by regular Air Canada; but the airline will offer more seats because it flies two-aisle Boeing 767s instead of the single-aisle planes now in use.
The 264-seat 767 would create 2,640 seats a week, 8.9 percent more than the 2,429 seats shown by Clark County Aviation Department records.
However, Air Canada calculates the increase at 13 percent.
Other North American carriers to fly the 767 into Las Vegas are Delta and Hawaiian.
The new rouge division went into operation on July 1 to draw leisure passengers and has since started service between Toronto and Montreal to Europe and the Caribbean. On March 13, the regular Air Canada service between McCarran International Airport and Montreal will be replaced by 10 rouge flights a week.
In keeping with its leisure focus, rouge will heavily push travel packages to its passengers, much like Virgin Atlantic or Allegiant.
Several U.S. carriers have tried separate budget brands and folded them all after losses, but Air Canada looks to the packages to provide the revenue to make the service worthwhile.
Although touted as “competitively priced” by Air Canada for people seeking the best deal, a check of random dates in November on aircanada.com shows that connections on regular Air Canada through cities such as Vancouver, British Columbia, and Calgary, Alberta, can slash the fare several hundred dollars.
Air Canada posted 375,000 passengers coming and going at McCarran during the nine months through September, an increase of 7 percent from the same period last year.
Still, that is only half of the traffic carried by archrival WestJet between Canada and Las Vegas.
Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at email@example.com or at 702-387-5290.