MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Canadian leisure operator Air Canada Rouge (RV) took to the skies for the first time in 2013.
The airlines inaugural flight – RV1920 – operated by an Airbus A319ceo, departed Toronto (YYZ) bound for Kingston, Jamaica (KIN). It was followed shortly afterwards by a flight to Liberia, Costa Rica.
Launched in December 2012, Rouge was Air Canada’s (AC) attempt to compete in the growing Canadian leisure market. The carrier became Air Canada’s third airline-within-an-airline. Tango (AC) was a no-frills carrier launched in 2001, followed by Zip (3J) in 2002. Both were closed down in 2004.
On launch day the airline offered 23 routes to destinations including the Caribbean, Mexico, Florida and Las Vegas. Initial international routes were offered to Athens (ATH), Edinburgh (EDI) and Venice (VCE). As the carrier expanded, further destinations were transferred over from Air Canada’s mainline network.
Rouge was established with a fleet of two Boeing 767-300ERs and two Airbus A319ceos, all of which had been transferred over from the mainline fleet. To reduce unit costs the leisure orientated carrier squeezed extra seats into its hand-me-down aircraft. On the A319 seating increased from 120 while operating with Air Canada to 142 with Rouge. The 767 went from 211 to 264.
Further aircraft were transferred over from AC as they received deliveries of their new Boeing 787s and 777s. At its peak Rouge operated 22 A319s and 25 767s. The airline also went on to operate the larger Airbus A320 and A321.
Featured image: Air Canada Rouge A321ceo at Lester B. Toronto Pearson International Airport (Photo: Wikimedia)