Vancouver Loves the Dreamliner


Up in beautiful Vancouver, wedged between whale-filled waters of Georgia Strait and the Coast Range of British Columbia, all the available information, the numbers and research and chatter, tells tourism officials that 2014 is “The Year of the Dreamliner.”

The city’s major daily, The Vancouver Sun, isn’t touting so much the Dreamliner’s composite construction or revamped cabins. No, what interests business writers is the fact that Boeing’s fuel-efficient 787, with relatively few seats, is a profitable aircraft for carriers between Asia and Canada.

The newspaper reported “Japan Airlines landed the first Dreamliner as part of a regularly scheduled passenger service route at YVR on Feb. 3. Then last week a second airline, Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines, also flew the Dreamliner to the Lower Mainland.”

Now Japan Airlines has crunched the numbers and decided it’s a no-brainer to switch from its older 767s — with 232 seats — to the new 187-seat Dreamliners on its Tokyo-Vancouver route. In March, they’ll begin daily Dreamliner flights between Tokyo-Narita and YVR.

China Southern, too, just announced it would fly a Dreamliner daily between Guangzhou and Vancouver. The new aircraft allows China Southern to more efficiently serve Vancouver and bolster its Guangzhou hub while challenging other Asian airports.

The carrier also just announced direct service between Guangzhou and New York.

For Canadian tourism, the Chinese market is major. The Tarmac reported that “Chinese visitors spend an average of $1,600 per person” in Vancouver. In 2012, 150,000 Chinese visited the city. Last summer, Vancouver officials reported an increase of 50 percent from the previous 12 months.

Vancouver is the North American leader in the number of flights to China (81 per week last summer; 71 per week this month, the off season).

But considering the entire Pacific Rim, Greater Vancouver’s population (2.4 million) has relatively limited financial impact compared to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Other Canadian cities like Toronto and Calgary also are challenging Vancouver for Chinese tourism.

The Tarmac’s View:  The Dreamliner can serve destinations with moderate demand and make the routes profitable. For Vancouver, that can make or break direct service to Asia. Expect more Dreamliners landing and taking off at YVR. Air Canada starts taking delivery of its Dreamliners in a few months. Most likely they’ll position some of them in YVR serving the Asia-Pacific region.


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Comments (Showing 1 of 1)

  • seanthepilot at 7:58am February 27, 2014

    ANA are also about to start service to Vancouver. Guesses to which aircraft they’ll use? 😉

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