Air Canada announced it would expand its frequency of flights to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport from Calgary and Vancouver starting on October 28 of 2018.
According to the Phoenix Business Journal, the airline will increase its nonstop service from Vancouver to Phoenix from four days a week to seven, and will utilize a bigger aircraft for its daily flights from Calgary.
The airline will use an Airbus A320 aircraft starting in October, which has 132 economy seats and 14 business-class seats.
Air Canada also announced a new seasonal direct service between Phoenix and Montreal, Quebec. Officials with the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport say the direct flights to the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport on Air Canada Rouge will operate through May 28, three times per week. Air Canada says the flights will resume on Sept. 6 and continue through May 2019.
Glenn Williamson, the founder and CEO of the Canada Arizona Business Council, told the Journal that the increase in the amount of business-class seats per flight shows a growing trend of business travel from Canada to Arizona.
“Tourism begets business,” he said. “That is something we’ve watched more and more, especially with Canadians.”
Arizona has been a popular destination for Canadian tourists for years, many of which are snowbirds looking to take advantage of Arizona’s weather during the winter and spring months. But Williamson believes that the increase in tourism has also brought business from the north.
Behind Mexico, Canada is Arizona’s second-largest trading partner, with exports from Arizona valued to be near $2.2 billion per year.
Deborah Ostreicher, the assistant director at city of Phoenix’s Aviation Department, said Air Canada told her there has been an increased demand for travel between Calgary, Vancouver and Phoenix.
“We see increase when there is demand,” she told the Journal.
But Ostreicher said the travel between the cities has to have its share of tourists or business-related travelers from Phoenix to Calgary or Vancouver in order for the flights to be successful.
Air Canada’s increase of flights to Phoenix is the latest effort by the airline to extend its travel to popular tourist destinations in the Southwest.
The airline announced it would add flights from both Calgary and Vancouver to Palm Springs, Calif., as well as from Edmonton to Las Vegas.
Officials have been pushing for more international flights out of Sky Harbor Airport in recent months, as Ostreicher told the Journal in December that the airport hoped to use renovations to increase its international presence.
Sky Harbor offers direct flights to both London and Frankfurt, and hope to add flights to Paris, Amsterdam and Tokyo in the future.