Fly di­rect Delhi-Toronto from Nov 2

As Air Canada gets set for its non­stop Delhi-Toronto flight on Novem­ber 2, Gary Cross, Se­nior Di­rec­tor, In­ter­na­tional Sales, Air Canada, says Mum­bai is high on their wish list of des­ti­na­tions.


You’ve de­cided to start non-stop ser­vice to Delhi af­ter 10 years. Pre­vi­ously you were op­er­at­ing the A340 and Boe­ing 767, has the in­tro­duc­tion of the 787 Dream­liner bol­stered the move?

The Dream­liner is the key, it's had a huge cus­tomer ap­peal since we've in­tro­duced it. The air­craft is per­fect for this route, the eco­nom­ics are fan­tas­tic. The air­craft gives us the range and the pay load to carry pas­sen­gers, bags and cargo. Our net­work in Canada has grown and our net- work into the US is go­ing to be the key. We are the largest for­eign air­line in the US. We con­nect 54 des­ti­na­tions, you ar­rive in Toronto and con­nect every­thing into the US and the rest of Canada and some of our in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tions as well. The sched­ule is de­signed to make it much eas­ier for In­dian trav­ellers to net­work.

In­dia is an ex­cit­ing des­ti­na­tion and now be­ing seen as a top-of-the-mind des­ti­na­tion around the world. More and more young peo­ple have been tak­ing in­ter­est in the coun­try. There is a lot of grow­ing in­ter­est from the In­dian MICE mar­ket in Canada as a des­ti­na­tion. As part­ners, Visit Canada is keen to pro­mote the coun­try as a des­ti­na­tion. It is great value at the mo­ment with the ex­change rate of the Cana­dian dol­lar ver­sus other cur­ren­cies in the world. It is a fab­u­lous value des­ti­na­tion at the mo­ment. It is a di­verse coun­try made up of com­mu­ni­ties from all over the world it’s al­ways had an open pol­icy to wel­come vis­i­tors. I think that is very en­cour­ag­ing as a des­ti­na­tion. MICE des­ti­na­tion is about am­bi­ence, set­ting and des­ti­na­tions to choose from and vi­brant ci­ties and all th­ese as­pects are avail­able in Canada.

Con­sid­er­ing that you’ll have 30 in­ter­na­tional ex­ec­u­tive lie-flat seats, do you think In­dia’s im­prov­ing econ­omy will trans­late into more Busi­ness Class seat sales?

We have three classes – In­ter­na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Class, Premium Econ­omy, and Econ­omy. I think In­dia is a very so­phis­ti­cated mar­ket and they ex­pect the best and Air Canada is geared up to of­fer that. The des­ti­na­tion, the ser­vices at the air­ports, our award-win­ning lounges, our con­nec­tion prod­ucts are all part of the pack­age to get you from one place to an­other as quickly and com­fort­ably as pos­si­ble and that's what the Air Canada ex­pe­ri­ence is all about.

IATA Chief Tony Tyler has ap­pealed to the In­dian gov­ern­ment to help air­lines do busi­ness in In­dia. How con­ducive is the In­dian en­vi­ron­ment for air­lines to con­duct their busi­ness?

Judg­ing by the set-up, the air­port author­ity

and the gov­ern­ment that we've been deal­ing with have been very help­ful. Delhi is a very busy air­port and for us to get the per­fect sched­ule that we wanted has been very help­ful. We are yet to start but I have not an­tic­i­pated any is­sues at this stage, there are com­plex­i­ties and there's bu­reau­cracy to go through but I wouldn't nec­es­sar­ily say it’s over­bear­ing here com­pared to other places.

Are you look­ing at any other In­dian des­ti­na­tion?

We are very keen to get back into Mum­bai we have a lot of new air­crafts - a lot of new 787s com­ing in. There is a list of des­ti­na­tions that we want to serve through­out the world and Mum­bai is high up on that list, it's not a ques­tion of ‘if’ but ‘when’.

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