Travel

Air Canada’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Returns To Brisbane

Air Canada has returned to Brisbane. The Montreal-based airline suspended its flights to the Queensland capital at the start of the pandemic, but 27 months later, Air Canada is back, now flying four-times-a-week flights from Vancouver. The Air Canada flights take the tally of North American destinations directly linked to Brisbane to three, complementing Qantas services to Los Angeles and the impending United Airlines flights to San Francisco.

Four times a week between Vancouver and Brisbane

On Friday evening, local time, an Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (registration C-FVNB) pushed back from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) for the 14-hour trek down to Brisbane (BNE), landing to a warm welcome back on Sunday morning. After a few hours at the gate at Brisbane International Airport (BNE), the jet turned around to fly home.

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Every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening, Air Canada flight AC35 will depart YVR and arrive in Brisbane at breakfast time two calendar days later. Mid-morning every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, AC36 leaves Brisbane on the return leg to Vancouver. Air Canada’s Dreamliner used on the Brisbane flights accommodates 298 passengers, including 247 passengers in economy class, 21 passengers in premium economy class, and 30 passengers in business class. The weekend’s first flight into Brisbane was fully booked.

Passengers coming off the Air Canada flight at Brisbane Airport on Sunday morning. Photo: Brisbane Airport Corporation

Another paused airline service resumes at Brisbane Airport

Brisbane is the primary gateway for international visitors travelling onto the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, the Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef, and Cairns. The airport says the Air Canada flights will bring an extra 60,000 travelers a year into Brisbane, and Vancouver is the airport’s 20th international city pair. Like Air Canada, many carriers cut flights into Brisbane at the pandemic’s start. Getting those flights restored is a key priority of Brisbane Airport.

Air Canada’s return to Brisbane coincides with Australia removing its last pandemic-related travel restrictions. As of Wednesday, July 6, passengers traveling to Australia will no longer be required to provide evidence of vaccination; unvaccinated visa holders will not require a travel exemption; passengers will not be required to complete the Digital Passenger Declaration; and passengers departing Australia will not be required to provide evidence of their vaccination status.

Air Canada’s Dreamliner at the gate at Brisbane Airport on Sunday morning. Photo: Gareth Ruhe/Brisbane Airport Corporation

Last of the fortress Australia travel restrictions end this week

The decision is a 180-degree turn from just nine months ago when fortress Australia banned nearly all inbound and outbound travel irrespective of a person’s vaccination status. The Australian Government says the changes are made on health advice.

“This removes another hurdle for international travelers as they weigh up which country to visit. Australia is competing for every tourist dollar, and for thousands of potential visitors, this will make us a more attractive destination,” said Brisbane Airport Chief Executive Officer Gert-Jan de Graaff.

Like most markets, a lack of capacity in and out of Australia and strong passenger demand is seeing airlines charge some hefty fares. A sample dummy booking on a YVR – BNE flight one month from now, August 5, sees one-way fares range from US$1480 through to $9898 one way, depending on where you’d prefer to sit on the plane. Air Canada is under fire for operational and customer service problems these days, but with fares like that, Air Canada’s passengers heading to Brisbane would be hoping for a hassle-free flight.


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