Air Canada Sees More Transborder Strength Thorough New United Deal

Air Canada A220-300 takeoff
Air Canada Airbus A220-300
Credit: Air Canada

Air Canada believes its deepened partnership with fellow Star Alliance member United Airlines will enhance its competitiveness in the U.S. transborder market. 

The two airlines recently announced a new joint business agreement that should allow customers to connect to 46 transborder codeshare destinations with more than 400 daily frequencies. There will be 38 such destinations in the U.S. and eight in Canada. It is expected there will be opportunities to add destinations for domestic routes within Canada and the U.S. 

Air Canada Chief Commercial Officer Lucie Guillemette said during a recent earnings discussion, the joint venture with United “will really allow us to expand” with the addition of new U.S. transborder markets. 

Speaking at a recent investor conference, Air Canada CFO Amos Kazzaz said the transborder market has been competitive, but a little less so from U.S. carriers. 

Some of the U.S. carriers’ transborder operations included regional routes but those airlines backed off regional flying due to pilot staffing issues, Kazzaz said. “That kept that market a little bit more open for us,” he added. 

Kazzaz said Air Canada historically has had a leadership position in the transborder market, and “now with the transborder joint venture [with United] we will be able to step that up as well.” 

Data from Aviation Week’s CAPA - Centre for Aviation show that as of late August, Air Canada had a 47% one-way seat share between Canada and the U.S. followed by WestJet’s 12.5%. Both American Airlines and United each held 11% shares. 

Lori Ranson

Lori covers North American and Latin airlines for Aviation Week and is also a Senior Analyst for CAPA - Centre for Aviation.