Air France, the flag carrier of France, commenced its nonstop services to Quebec City on May 17, becoming the only European carrier to serve the airport. The Air France AF352 operated the flight between Charles de Gaule Airport and Jean-Lesage International Airport on Tuesday, leaving Paris at 13:47 and arriving in Quebec at 14:50. This is Air France’s fourth route to Canada after Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.
The fourth direct route in Canada
As a part of its summer schedule, the French flag carrier operated the 3298-mile journey across the North Atlantic to Quebec City on May 17. The maiden flight carried Quebec’s Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx and Senior Vice President France, Henri Hourcade, onboard the aircraft.
On the occasion of the official Quebec launch, Mr. Hourcade expressed his delight to initiate nonstop direct service to the fourth route in Canada and second in Quebec province and described the strong historical ties between France and Quebec. He also said that this service would strengthen the cultural, economic, and tourist exchanges between the two cities.
Regarding seats offered on long-haul journeys, Canada serves as the second most important market for Air France. With the commencement of the new Canadian route, Air France will expand the offer this summer which will be 15% higher than 2019 levels.
Stephane Poirier, President, and CEO of Jean Lesage International Airport, welcomed the arrival of the Air France flight to Quebec City and said that the flight between Paris and Quebec City would be a blessing for the socio-economic development of the greater region. According to him, the new route complemented their aim to provide more alternatives to local people and become a direct gateway for visitors to Quebec City and link them to the worldwide network of Air France. Air France is one of the world’s largest airlines flying to an extensive network of nearly 200 destinations on all continents.
Air France announced to serve the Paris-Quebec City route in January and published the flight schedule as:
- AF352: Depart Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) at 13:25 and arrive in Quebec City (YQB) at 14:55 the same day
- AF353: Depart Quebec City at 17:00 and arrive at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 5:45 the following day
The CDG-YQB flight will be operated three times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays) from May 17 till October 27, 2022.
The new operations to Quebec City will optimize Air France’s presence in the Province through the Paris hub, allowing passengers to connect to other French cities in its widespread domestic network. At the same time, it will contribute to Quebec City’s economic and tourism development. Air France’s Paris-Quebec City direct flight will tap into leisure and VFR markets and prove significant to the large number of French nationals living and discovering the provincial capital.
The new connection is in addition to the carrier’s daily bus service providing free transportation to its customers on the Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport-Quebec City route.
Airbus A33-200 for the new route
Air France is the only carrier to use widebody aircraft in a new route- the Airbus A330-200 aircraft featuring 224 seats across three travel cabins-business, premium economy, and economy. The 36 business class seats are convertible into fully-flat, 2m-long beds, whereas 21 premium economy seats feature fixed-shell seats, which recline to 130 degrees and offer lumbar support. The remaining 167 economy seats are characterized by ergonomic seat foam and reclining capacity to 118 degrees.
Airbus A330-200 is a state-of-art aircraft equipped with advanced amenities, including Wi-Fi, the latest-generation in-flight entertainment system with over 1000 hours of content on large HD screens, individual power sockets, etc.
Canada-the important market
Since 1950, Canada has been an important market for Air France. Currently, it operates four daily flights to Montreal (YUL), the second long-haul destination after New York, two daily flights to Toronto (YYZ), and a single flight to Vancouver. Air France will boost its capacity to Canada by 25% compared to the pre-pandemic level, making it the largest European airline in terms of seats offered between Europe and Canada.
Competition with Air Transat
With the addition of the new route, Air France will compete with the Canadian airline Air Transat which has served the Quebec-Paris market for a long period. Air Transat offers two weekly flights on this route for May, which will increase to three flights in a week from June. It will continue serving the route till October 25 using A321 LR aircraft.