The new direct air route between Montréal and Beijing is of paramount importance for Montréal and Quebec as a whole, given China’s position on the world stage today.

Business people, members of the local Chinese community, Chinese students enrolled in our universities, and tourists attracted to Asia’s exoticism will surely benefit from this new flight option. Similarly, Montréal will become a new continental entryway for Chinese travellers, more and more of whom are making their way to America.

The benefits of a link such as this one are obvious.

First, think of Montréal’s profile and reputation in the world’s second-largest economy, of the potential tourism impacts for the city, and of the jobs created at the airport. For companies already doing business with China or planning to do so, a direct flight is an undeniable advantage that will save time and stimulate trade relations between Quebec and China.

The new link falls within the framework of the agreements concluded last year between Canada and China, which notably aim to increase air service between the two nations. It is more specifically in keeping with the memorandum of understanding between Air Canada and Air China with a view to creating a vast joint venture.

Both members of Star Alliance, Air Canada and Air China have been collaborating for a number of years. The new joint venture will allow for increased collaboration between the two airlines in the areas of sales, marketing, and ground operations. It will also provide more advantageous services and rates for clients travelling between the two countries.

Travellers departing from Beijing will be able to benefit from easy connections with the many domestic and trans-border flights Air Canada offers from Montréal-Trudeau. Furthermore, while Beijing itself is a major destination, it will also be possible to easily route through to other destinations in China and elsewhere in Asia. The Beijing airport is, in fact, Air China’s main hub.

According to available statistics, Beijing is the most sought-after destination in Asia from Montréal. Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo rate far behind it. The magic number for making a regular international route profitable with a minimum of three flights per week is 40,000 passengers (with a B-777).

Aéroports de Montréal estimates that—based on current passenger flow between Montréal and Beijing, and taking into account the stimulative effect and the connecting traffic that could realistically be possible to achieve—the new Montréal-Beijing direct route will be profitable immediately. Indeed, we hope that the airline will quickly be able to increase the frequency of its flights.

Several other conditions need to be met for a new air route to see the light of day:

air rights, the airline’s interest, availability of planes with the desired capacity and range, availability of adequate landing slots in departure and arrival airports, etc. The establishment of a new international air route also represents a major investment on the part of the airline or airlines involved. Just like Montréal, cities as important as Washington and Boston had to wait a long time before obtaining their direct flights to China.

Air China aircraft © Typhoonski |

Montréal-Trudeau Airport

Montréal-Trudeau Airport

Montréal-Trudeau Airport

Montréal-Trudeau Airport

An initiative of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and Aéroports de Montréal