Carry on: Air Canada’s India links, LATAM rebranding and more

Business traveller news also includes a new North Korean route as well as further international flights to Auckland and Christchurch.

Air Canada launches second nonstop India link
Air Canada has highlighted a glaring gap in Air New Zealand’s international network – direct nonstop flights to India. The Canadian airline, which is a Star Alliance partner of Air New Zealand, is launching a 14-hour non-stop flight between Vancouver and Delhi from October 20.

This will be Air Canada's second service to India. In November, it resumed the Toronto-Delhi direct flight after a gap of eight years. This flight takes 15 hours over the North Pole and covers 11,656km. 

The Vancouver-Delhi route will cover a distance of about 11,200km, which is over a thousand kilometres less than the Delhi-San Francisco route serviced by Air India since December. The world’s longest flight is Emirates’ 14,200km Dubai-Auckland service, which takes over 16 hours.

Air Canada will operate three weekly flights from Vancouver with a 298-seat Boeing 787-9 aircraft – the same as Air New Zealand has – in a three-class configuration. This aircraft is also used on the Toronto-Delhi route.

Defunct carrier Canada 3000 previously operated a Vancouver-Delhi nonstop service in October 2001 with A340-300, while Air Canada previously offered Vancouver-London Heathrow-Delhi service until 1999.

Farewell LAN, welcome LATAM
LAN Chile is leaving New Zealand airspace in favour of a rebranding to LATAM, a merger of LAN and TAM into South America’s largest airline. The new branding, uniforms and signage will start appearing next week.

LATAM’s daily Santiago-Sydney flight touches down in Auckland, giving New Zealanders a choice of airlines to South America (the other is Air New Zealand to Buenos Aires). But it remains an expensive destination compared with North America.

It may take some time before the rebranding appears here. The first flight of a LATAM-branded aircraft, a Boeing 767, will depart from Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, May 1, for a one-off journey to Geneva to collect the Olympic torch. 

On May 5, the first three commercial flights of aircraft with the new LATAM image will operate on the São Paulo-Santiago, Santiago-Lima and São Paulo-Brasilia routes.

More than 50 aircraft are anticipated to be rebranded before the end of 2016 and the fleet-wide process is expected to be finalised in 2018.  Repainting takes on average six to 12 days for each plane and will be done when maintenance is due.

North Korea opens domestic route
Intrepid travellers to the world's most closed society will be interested to know Air Koryo has made a number of adjustments to its website functionality, including service description in Chinese, and opening reservation of domestic service. This is Pyongyang-Orang/Chongjin, served twice a week with Antonov An148-100 aircraft. Air Koryo has been identified as the world's worst airline and Carry On would like to hear of anyone planning to make this trip.

Route news of the week
Qantas is adding five flights a week to its Sydney-Christchurch operation from June 27 to October 28 using Boeing 737-800 aircraft. This will take the total flights to 12 times a week instead of seven. Malaysia Airlines is adjusting the timing of its Sunday Kuala Lumpur-Auckland service. From October 30, the departures will move to morning hours, instead of night-time, operating as MH133/132. The service uses A330-300 aircraft. China Airlines is expanding its planned service on the Taipei Taoyuan-Brisbane-Auckland route. The seasonal fourth weekly service is now scheduled to begin on September 18, 10 weeks earlier than the planned start on December 2. The airline uses Airbus A330-300 aircraft on this route.

Tune into NBR Radio’s Sunday Business with Andrew Patterson on Sunday morning, for analysis and feature-length interviews.