Air Canada welcomed 300 members of the travel trade, partners and VIPs to the Vancouver Art Gallery last week to celebrate the launch of the first non-stop service from Vancouver to Delhi, commencing Oct. 20. The airline will offer three times weekly service between the two cities through April 8 on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
“We’re all here to celebrate what may well be the most anticipated route out of YVR,” said Bonnie Walker, Director Sales – Western Canada. “People have been asking for this route and we are thrilled to offer it.”
Walker’s announcement that the flight will take 14 hours point to point was met with a round of applause.
“We have brought India to Canada closer by eight hours,” added Kevin Howlett, senior vice president, regional markets and government relations.
“The India–Canada corridor is becoming increasingly important for Canadian business and Indian business,” Howlett said, highlighting the forestry and mining sectors. “This air link is much more than just for the Lower Mainland. It’s for the entire province and some areas of the Pacific Northwest.”
The new flight also provides Western Canadians easier access to Air Canada Vacations packages in India, including the three-night Delhi Stop Over – City Stay, the eight-night Golden Triangle and Ranthambore, the 10-night Best of North India and the 13-night Palaces of Rajasthan.
“India is a bucket list destination,” Marigold Frontuna, ACV’s general manager, Sales – Western Canada told PAX. “It’s more than just Delhi, and you need to travel around the country to really experience it.”
The launch event was catered by Vij’s, the iconic Vancouver restaurant helmed by celebrity chef Vikram Vij and his partner Meeru Dhalwala. Vij’s cuisine will be offered onboard the YVR–Delhi route in both economy and business class.
“There’s nothing traditional about our food, but it’s 100 per cent Indian,” Dhalwala told PAX. “We’ve erased the internal cuisine boundaries,” she said, noting the combination of flavours and spices from different areas of the subcontinent. “It’s fusion within India – civil fusion.”
As on other international Air Canada flights, the business class menu also includes dishes from another Vancouver celebrity chef: David Hawksworth.
At launch, the YVR–Delhi route will operate seasonally October to April, but Howlett told the crowd that “whether it remains seasonal depends on the people in this room,” adding, “we think it’s going to be a very easy sell.” He noted the airline’s purchase of Dreamliner aircraft for the route “represents a significant investment on the part of this company to the Indian subcontinent.”
VIPs and partners attending the launch event included Rajiv Chander, consul general of India in Vancouver; executives from Destination BC, Destination Canada, the Surrey Board of Trade and the Vancouver International Airport; and representatives of the BC government.
For more information, visit aircanada.com.