MIAMI — Last week, Air Canada Rouge started flying from Phoenix, Arizona to Montreal, Quebec through May 28, three times per week.

The flights are operated with an Airbus A319 aircraft, connecting Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

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On Thursday, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton joined almost a dozen other Mayors and city leaders from the state of Arizona to celebrate the launch of new air service.

According to the low-cost carrier, this new route will offer a vital link for passengers and the international business community.

As a bonus, Air Canada made the surprising announcement that it renewed and increased this service: the flight will resume on September 6 and will continue through May 2019 on the same schedule and served with an Airbus A319.

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Canada is a major Arizona trading partner with exports to Canada valued at more than $2.2. billion per year.

Last year, Arizona registered a $755 million trade surplus with Canada, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which tracks the value of imports and exports for U.S. states and metro areas.

Many Canadian companies say they like sites in Arizona, because of the proximity to West Coast U.S. markets and major Mexican markets.

According to City of Phoenix Community and Economic Development, there are more than 460 Canadian-owned companies in Arizona.

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The economic importance of this new route was made clear by leaders from around Arizona who gathered for the inaugural service.

In addition to Mayor Stanton of Phoenix, Mayors from Maricopa, Surprise, Tolleson, Wickenburg, and Tucson, as well as the Vice Mayors of Flagstaff and Mesa, and Presidents of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community attended the launch of service.

Mayor Stanton is Chair of the Maricopa Association of Government’s (MAG) Economic Development Committee, and today’s event was held in partnership with MAG.

The new service to Montreal brings the total number of cities served by nonstop flights from Phoenix to Canada to 10. The newest connection to Montreal also provides additional access to Air Canada’s global network.