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First Air Canada Rouge jet touches down (3 photos)

The reintroduction of Air Canada jet aircraft sees three daily flights between Thunder Bay and Toronto on the Airbus A-319 that seats 136 passengers.

THUNDER BAY - The first Air-Canada Rouge jet to touch down in Thunder Bay received a fitting welcome courtesy of water cannons after appearing out of the low-hanging clouds and cutting through the wet snow and rain falling on the tarmac.

On Wednesday at 9:51 a.m., Air Canada flight 1510 arrived at the Thunder Bay International Airport from Toronto. It is the first flight as part of the new Air Canada schedule announced last February that sees three daily flights between Thunder Bay and Toronto aboard its Airbus A-319 Rouge aircraft.

“Today we are seeing the reintroduction of jet service by Air Canada through their Rouge product,” said Thunder Bay airport president and chief executive officer Ed Schmidtke. “Starting today we are seeing three jets a day to Toronto.”

The aircraft currently operating on this route has 136 seats, but depending on availability of aircraft and market demand, the planes could get as large as 200 seats.

Prior to the arrival of the Air Canada Rouge jet, all other carriers were flying the southern Ontario route with the Dash-8 twin turboprop aircraft, which seats 78 passengers.   

Air Canada used to offer six daily weekday flights between the two destinations, but it has now been reduced to three, but Schmidtke said with the increased aircraft size, passenger capacity remains relatively the same.

The Airbus A-319 has a cruising speed of approximately 829 kilometres an hour and flights between Thunder Bay and Toronto could be 15 to 20 minutes shorter compared to twin turboprop aircraft.

“The reintroduction of jet service puts real choice into the market,” Schmidtke said. “We have carriers that provide higher frequencies with a turboprop airplane, we have carriers now that provide jet service with lower frequencies. The market has true choice on what kind of air service they want to buy.”

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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