Air Canada Adds Madrid Route, Plans Transatlantic Capacity Growth

air canada boeing 787-8
Credit: Air Canada

A new route connecting Montreal and Madrid is being launched by Air Canada next summer as the Star Alliance member plans a full recovery of its pre-pandemic transatlantic capacity. The airline says the move aims to take “full advantage” of the robust recovery in its largest international market.

Alongside the new Madrid service—its second to the Spanish capital—the carrier intends to increase frequencies on 17 transatlantic routes, compared with the summer 2023 season, as well as bringing forward four seasonal service resumptions. A total of 51 routes to 30 cities in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India will be offered during summer 2024.

The year-round service connecting Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) and Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) will commence in May 2024, operating five times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Air Canada will deploy a 255-seat Boeing 787-8 aircraft on the 3,450-mi. (2,998-nm) sector.

“This will be the only year-round service between Montreal and the Spanish capital, complementing our long-standing Toronto-Madrid flights, and offering compelling options for leisure customers and also returning business travelers,” says Air Canada Executive Vice President of Revenue and Network Planning Mark Galardo.

The airline launched flights from Montreal to Spain in summer 2014, connecting the largest city in Canada’s Québec province with Barcelona. Service between YUL and Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) currently runs at five roundtrips per week onboard Airbus A330-300s, before switching to 4X-weekly with 787-8s during the winter 2023-24 season.

Data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser shows that YUL-BCN is one of three Spanish routes offered by Air Canada at present, alongside year-round service to MAD and seasonal flights to BCN from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). In the Montreal-Madrid market, the carrier will provide competition for Air Transat, which offers a 4X-weekly summer service using A321neos.

Elsewhere, Air Canada will increase frequencies to several popular Mediterranean destinations and bring forward the start-up of four seasonal European services next summer.

Italy forms a focus for the expansion, with more flights from YUL to Milan, Rome and Venice, and from YYZ to Rome and Venice. “This underpins the importance of Italy in Air Canada's global network, as we are the largest carrier between Canada and Italy, and the only one connecting the two countries on a year-round basis,” Galardo says.

Overall, Air Canada expects its YYZ and YUL hubs to rank as the third- and fifth-largest, respectively, in North America in terms of transatlantic seats during summer 2024. “The airline is committed to further developing both hubs' transatlantic footprint in the coming years,” it adds.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.