Air Canada expanding Florida services – Potential boost for tourism


Tourism and snowbirds from Canada are a big part of Florida’s economy. In recent years we’ve seen Canadian discount carrier WestJet set up a virtual focus city in Orlando while flying many point-to-point routes from Fort Lauderdale to secondary Canadian cities during the winter.  WestJet also serves Miami, Tampa and Fort Myers with less frequent service. AirTransat and Sunwing have also added many services to state primarily to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale in recent years.

This week, Air Canada, the national  flag carrier, announced they were making Sarasota/Bradenton service from Toronto year-round (A big boost for that market which has struggled to maintain airline service thanks to competition from Tampa International and St Petersburg/Clearwater International) and that they were making a secondary route between Fort Lauderdale and Ottawa year-round.

In the 1990’s, Air Canada only flew to Florida cities besides Tampa and Miami seasonally. That was before Canada and the USA signed a bilateral treaty allowing year-round service to other destinations.  The recent Air Canada route structure changes over the past few years have made Fort Lauderdale and Orlando the airlines’ second and third largest stations in the winter outside of Canada (London’s Heathrow Airport is the largest).

Canadian tourism and business interest in Cuba and other Caribbean islands is also increasing at the very same time. This is a threat to Florida’s long predominant position as a winter home and vacation spot for Canadians with disposable income.

Air Canada’s recent additions coupled with WestJet’s large presence in the state though are very good signs that Canadians remain focused heavily on Florida.

One comment

  1. Additional air services, YES; fracked tarsands pipelines: Hell, No!


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