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Fri, Dec 21, 2012

Canada's New Leisure Airline Goes 'rouge'

Name Selected For New, Low-Cost Airline That Will Begin Flying In July

Air Canada has unveiled its new leisure airline, marking a milestone in the transformation of Canada's flag carrier to compete in the growing leisure travel sector. Along with details of the initial destinations it will fly to beginning in July 2013, the name of Canada's new leisure airline - Air Canada rouge - was announced following a contest launched on Facebook inviting customers, employees and travel industry professionals for their input. Details about the contest and prize winners have been posted on Facebook.

"With the introduction today of Air Canada rouge, Air Canada enters today's growing leisure travel market on a truly competitive basis," said Ben Smith, Air Canada's Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, at a news conference in Toronto to unveil the new leisure airline. "In partnership with Air Canada Vacations, part of our new leisure group, Air Canada rouge will leverage the strengths of Air Canada's extensive network, operational expertise and frequent flyer reward program in order to offer Canadians great value for their vacation travel."

Michael Friisdahl, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada's Leisure Group, continued, "With leisure time at a premium, Air Canada rouge will combine affordable fares, great service and choice leisure destinations with those benefits offered by Air Canada and Air Canada Vacations that are valued most by vacation travellers. We look forward to giving them a warm welcome onboard Air Canada rouge, Canada's affordably stylish leisure airline."

For its inaugural 2013 season, Air Canada rouge will introduce new routes not currently operated by Air Canada to Venice, Italy and Edinburgh, Scotland. In addition, Air Canada seasonal services from Toronto and Montreal to Athens, Greece will be flown by the leisure carrier. Similarly, existing Air Canada flights operated in cooperation with Air Canada Vacations to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Costa Rica will be operated by Air Canada rouge effective July 2013.

Air Canada rouge flights to all destinations to be served in the carrier's inaugural 2013 summer schedule will depart Air Canada's main hub at Toronto's Pearson International Airport offering customers seamless connections with Air Canada, Air Canada Express and its Star Alliance partner flights. Air Canada rouge will also operate non-stop flights to Athens from Montreal's Trudeau Airport, in addition to its Toronto-Athens flights. Air Canada rouge customers benefit from attractively priced through-fares from any point within Air Canada's extensive network on a single ticket as well as baggage checked through to final destination and Aeroplan mileage accumulation and redemption.

The Air Canada rouge fleet will initially be comprised of two Boeing 767-300ER (pictured top) aircraft to operate transatlantic flights in a two-cabin configuration offering a selection of rouge Plus seats with additional legroom and Premium rouge seats featuring additional seating comfort, space and enhanced meal and beverage service; and two Airbus A319 (pictured, bottom) aircraft to operate North American flights in an all-economy configuration offering a selection of rouge Plus seats with additional legroom. These four aircraft will be released from Air Canada's existing fleet to Air Canada rouge as the mainline carrier takes delivery of two new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in 2013, as announced October 1, 2012.

Air Canada rouge will expand to other popular holiday destinations as Air Canada starts to take delivery of new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in 2014, thereby freeing up aircraft for deployment in the Air Canada rouge fleet. As this occurs, and subject to commercial demand, Air Canada rouge may operate up to 20 Boeing 767-300ER aircraft and 30 Airbus A319 aircraft, for a total of 50 aircraft, to pursue opportunities in markets made viable by Air Canada rouge's lower operating cost structure. Flights operated by Air Canada rouge are subject to receiving all required regulatory approvals.

Two hundred new jobs will be created for flight attendants and pilots at Air Canada rouge, in addition to Air Canada hiring 900 employees to meet its own planned workforce requirements as part of its 2012-2013 recruitment program announced September 20, 2012.

FMI: www.aircanada.com

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