Do you know who likes to go to Canada? Brazilian people. In the last four years, the number of passengers from Brazil to Canada has increased by 75%. Motivated by the positive outlook, Air Canada has just opened a non-stop São Paulo-Montreal connection with flights three times a week and a load factor of over 90% in December and January. The trip lasts nine hours.
A benchmark in the pharmaceutical, high-tech, textile, and aerospace industries, Montreal will host the next edition of Sial in April, one of the world’s largest food fairs, which usually hosts CCBC trade missions every year. The Chamber’s Canadian office is also located in the city.
In addition to the business-friendly atmosphere, Montreal is touristy. And the planes on the new route land about a two-hour drive from Mont-Tremblant, one of the most charming local ski resorts. “It’s the only direct flight from Brazil to such a station in Canada,” says Gleyson Ranieri, commercial director of Air Canada in Brazil.
The SP-Montreal trip repeats the success of a traditional company route: SP-Toronto, which also comes bearing news. Starting March, it will operate with the 400-seat Boeing 777-300ER. This represents a 34% increase in the number of seats on flights, or an additional 3,000 seats per month. Flights are daily and non-stop. In high season, their occupancy rates reach 96%.
Among the reasons that impact Brazil’s demand for Canada, Air Canada’s international director, Virgilio Russi, highlights an economic one. “The value of the Canadian dollar is almost 30% lower than the US dollar,” which favors the arrival of foreign companies and trade. The encouragement of diversity by the government and organizations fosters an open environment for foreigners, and Air Canada itself is an example. In its Toronto office, with 500 employees, speakers of 70 languages were identified.
Education is another point of attraction. Russi points out that universities like British Columbia, Toronto, and McGill are some of the world’s best universities. Canadian Visa and Immigration Consul James McNamee says that Brazilian students tend to rank fourth among the foreign students in Canadian schools and universities, behind only the US, China, and India.
He adds that Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) has become another incentive for Brazilians to go to Canada. ETA streamlines the visa application process for those who did get it in the last ten years or have a valid US visa.
Largest movement in Brazilian-Canadian relations
The São Paulo-Montreal route will meet a demand from the São Paulo State government, which has been carrying out a series of actions to promote other types of tourism in the state, besides business-related tourism. On December 11, the inaugural flight brought a team of six tour operators from the Quebec region, who landed in São Paulo to visit north coast cities such as Bertioga and Ilha Bela, and the capital. In March, it will be the turn of a group of Canadian journalists to travel.
Luis Antônio Sobrinho, the technical director for modes of transport of the São Paulo State Department of Tourism, points out numbers that show the tourism potential that can be tapped. According to Sobrinho, of the approximately 2 million passengers that São Paulo’s airports receive annually, 75% stay in the state, while the others go on to other connections.
Air Canada is the first international airline to deploy stopover free for travelers from all over the world to São Paulo. A stopover is an opportunity for airlines to offer passengers who wish to extend their stay in cities where they make stops or connections. By company rules, periods of up to five days are not charged, and this can encourage tourists to get to know the state better.
The São Paulo-Montreal route is a seasonal route and will be in operation until March 27, 2020. As Ranieri explains, in countries with severe winters, airlines often stop operating a few stops but leave some aircraft available. In these situations, the opportunity arises for the airline to create seasonal routes based on destinations that are already successful. As the flight succeeds, the route may become regular.
|Flights||Departures||Arrivals||Day of the Week|
|AC 96||Montreal 6:35 pm||São Paulo 6:30 am||Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday|
|AC 97||São Paulo 8:40 am||Montreal 4:45 pm||Monday, Thursday, and Saturday|
*Times in the city of origin