Of course I went wrong somewhere...
AC874 Montreal-Frankfurt A330-300, Boeing B74E is one of AC's best international flights in terms of load factor. This summer, I swear the flight was oversold every day, until they brought a second daily to FRA from YUL. AC's route planning decides "HEY, lets make the 2nd flight depart within one hour from the original departure AC874, same for the arrival. At the same time, lets program the route LESS than one month from the start-up"..... and the FLIGHT was still full....
They also added a 2nd flight to YYc but on a 2 weekly basis. The end result, Montreal will be stuck with the same stupid overbooked AC874, while YYC gets a 2nd. More insulting, YEG and YHZ-FRA which are nice, but using this logic, every city in the United States of America over 300,000 in pop. should get a flight to their nearest largest European alliance hub...... and Id love to see DL, AA, NW, CO, US get of their Hub track, and add PWM-CDG or MKE-AMS.
So here we are again with the same dilemma Montreal's have been facing for the last 4 years. Air Canada's international flights for the most part, all leave with consistent load factors of 90% + non-rev's. Air Canada also saw what it doubted (Milton told me to my face that OS would never survive in Montreal), Austrian do quite well especially with their code-share. No Montrealers are stuck with a half-assed airport only because AC convinced the ADM and the BTMM (board of trade of Montreal metro) that YUL was to become a hub for AC. A hub with routes to TLV, MXP, FCO, BEY, FRA, LHR, BRU, CDG etc etc. AC continuously watches high load factors, only acts when the pressure is on by other carriers, and continues to send the excess to YYZ.
The expansion $850 million until 2009, near $1.4 billion for 2020, is mostly in part for Air Canada to have better transfer facilities, gain more VIP rooms, better baggage systems, more gates, more counters..... Milton stood before Montrealers (as he is the one calling for the expansion) saying that this expansion will allow "Quantum Leaps" the "Munich of Canada"..
Of course AC's gotta worry about their financial side of the picture, but having a YUL smaller alternative to YYZ isnt such a destructive idea. Even Robert Milton himself said that this was to be Montreal's potential. He predicted great things for YUL when I met him, saying that their core-routes (those that will never change) are some of the strongest in their network..
Anyway by the like of AC"s wish list, Calgary will have the same number of trans-atlantic as Montreal. While Calgary is quite prosperous, its international traffic is 1/4 the size of Montreal's. I dont expect big things from AC, but I do expect eventual 2X YUL-LHR, 2X YUL-FRA, 3X YUL-CDG, and maybe even YUL-MUC, YUL-MXP. These are all viable routes with viable demand. They are also a multi-tude of frequencies/destinations to this mini-hub that could also be considered, without infringing on Toronto's loads..
I will discount that the demand isnt there. KLM has reported the highest load factor per flight in its whole network from Montreal, primarily shuffling the Italy and India markets. Austrian is quite happy, BA is status quo, AF is adding a 3rd flight, RAM is going daily, MS is gonna go YUL-CAI non-stop, LH is interested in Montreal, CSA is going to do YUL-PRague without YYZ feed, and AC is constantly overbooked to its international destinations.
Is Air Canada waiting for more gate space? Is Air Canada waiting for the Dorval expansion to be completed given the absolutely awful facilities that they have? Or is Dorval pax just gonna be shuffled to YYZ, YYC, YVR and other hubs..Im anxious to see this, but im not very encouraged. Im encouraged with everybody else happy with their business at YUL, expanding their business as well. As for AC's, they're flights are not gonna get fuller than they are on the international side, because they cant, they are already full... (of course some dates in Nov, early Dec, Mid-Jan are open because its real low-season)..
So in short, Im pro-AC YYZ hub. But Im also pro-AC YUL secondary hub that will not hurt the YYZ main hub. With the new installations that promise to be world-class, easy, efficient, and friendly, I wonder if AC will consider taking a better look at us. Ive seen the plans, and they are quite good..