Lower Mainland travellers will soon be able to fly direct to India all year long.
Air Canada has announced its seasonal flight from Vancouver to Delhi will now be year-round beginning June 2018. The national carrier will use the 787-9 Dreamliner and travel time each way will be 14 hours.
Surrey’s Sivakumar Chandrasekaran has lived in Canada for the past 12 years and travels to India at least once a year. He said the announcement is one of the best decisions Air Canada has made.
“This flight is useful for emergency trips. If something happens in my homeland, I cannot reach on-time,” Chandrasekaran said. “If it is one or two stops, it takes more than 24 to 48 hours but this flight will help us to reach our homeland in 14 hours or 15 hours.”
Beginning June 8, the service will be operational four times a week year-round with the flights departing Vancouver on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 1:30 a.m. The return service from Delhi will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 6:10 a.m.
The non-stop flights to Delhi from Vancouver will be the second such service in Canada. Toronto also has year-round non-stop flights to India.
The Vancouver-Delhi flight was initially launched as seasonal service in 2016 and flew three times a week. Towards the end of last year, Air Canada announced its seasonal service to Delhi would be expanded to five times a week.
Benjamin Smith, president, passenger airlines at Air Canada, said in a statement the carrier is committing $1.5 billion worth of aircraft between Canada and India.
“Customer response to our non-stop Vancouver-Delhi seasonal flights initially launched in 2016 has been extremely positive,” Smith said.
B.C. Premier John Horgan said the flight service would boost two-way tourism and business opportunities.
“This new flight helps build on B.C.’s growing business relationships and people-to-people connections with India, the country of origin for over 230,000 British Columbians,” Horgan said in a statement.
According to the 2011 census data, nearly 37 per cent of the immigrant population in Surrey are from India.