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Air Canada rouge launched a new Edinburgh to Toronto route this morning.   The new leisure airline is a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Canada and will fly three times a week to the company’s hub there.

There was a party atmosphere with Michael Bublé singing in the background. Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP, Dr Mike Cantlay Chair of VisitScotland and Gordon Dewar CEO of Edinburgh Airport were on hand to help Air Canada representatives cut the ribbon to mark the first westbound flight.

Gone are the days of taking chartered flights to visit relatives who had emigrated to a far flung corner of the Commonwealth some 12 hours away by plane. Now Air Canada rouge can whisk you to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport direct from the Scottish capital in just seven hours.

The Montreal routes are served from Italy and Greece, while Edinburgh is the only UK destination so far. Described as stylishly affordable, this is a holiday airline for passengers on both sides of the Atlantic, promising comfort and affordability. There are also links to the Caribbean through Toronto.

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The crew who staff the rouge flights are dressed casually, and we are promised that they have all have graduated in customer service excellence training.

The airline is flying two types of aircraft, the Airbus A 319 and the  Boeing 767-300ER. Both aircraft types are sporting a sleek new white, red and burgundy livery. Interior modifications offer a range of comfortable customer seating, service choices and benefits.

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The Boeing 767-300ER aircraft which arrived in Edinburgh today is fitted with 264 seats in a two-cabin configuration, featuring 246 rougeTM seats – including 14 rouge PlusTM seats with additional legroom – and 18 Premium rougeTM seats offering additional seating comfort, space and an enhanced meal and beverage service.

Customers seated in rougeTM and rouge PlusTM are served a complimentary hot meal with a selection of non-alcoholic beverages (alcoholic beverages are available for purchase). Premium rougeTM customers benefit from an enhanced complimentary meal service with carefully selected wines and non-alcoholic beverages on fine dish- and glass-ware as well as being provided with a hot towel and snack service.

All Air Canada rouge aircraft are all equipped with player, a next generation in-flight entertainment system that streams unlimited live entertainment — including movies, TV shows, kids programming, music and an About Us section — to customers’ personal electronic devices. Air Canada rouge is one of the first carriers in North America to offer streaming onboard content. Unlimited access to TV shows and movies will be free for the month of July and will be permanently complimentary for Premium rouge customers. Staring August 1, rouge Plus and rouge customers will pay a nominal $5 CDN fee for unlimited movie and TV show access and the music and About Us channels will always be complimentary.

“We are excited to launch this new route from Edinburgh to Toronto today, which marks one of our first three flights from Europe to Canada,” said Michael Friisdahl, President and CEO of Air Canada rouge from Toronto, the airline’s Canadian hub. “Customers will experience a new kind of leisure travel with outstanding customer service, uncompromised safety, a relaxed in-flight environment and a host of Air Canada benefits; all at competitive fares. With Air Canada rouge you can truly vacation ahead.”

Vijay Bathija, Vice President, Commercial at Air Canada rouge participated in the celebrations at Edinburgh Airport and was joined by Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Transport and Veterans; Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport and Dr Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the departure gate to inaugurate the new service.

Minister Keith Brown, who met with Air Canada rouge representatives earlier this year during Scotland Week, said:- “I know from my recent visit that over four million Canadians claim Scottish ancestry, so having more direct access means there’s arguably never been a better time to discover – or rediscover – what Scotland has to offer. For those planning ahead we have much to look forward to in 2014 when Scotland will play host to the Year of Homecoming, Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup and we are looking forward to putting on a spectacle we can all be proud of – we would encourage our Canadian friends to play their part in making it a success.

“We are determined to build on international air connections with countries such as Canada, which is such an important market for Scotland. We’ve seen a five-fold increase in terms of direct destinations available over the last decade, and we are working to improve that even further. Our Economic Strategy highlights the importance of ensuring Scotland is well connected with the rest of the world reflecting its importance to our global competitiveness and in helping to secure sustainable economic growth.”

Gordon Dewar said:- “We’re delighted to welcome Air Canada to Edinburgh Airport and are sure they’ll have a very successful summer with us. This new direct service from Edinburgh to Toronto is yet another example of how we listen to our customers and work hard to ensure they have the best choice of routes possible. Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport and it’s where Scotland meets the world. It’s hugely exciting to now offer a direct service to Canada which I’m sure our Scottish and Canadian passengers will take full advantage of.”

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Dr Mike Cantlay, Chair of VisitScotland

Dr Mike Cantlay Chair of VisitScotland added: “The launch of this new direct route is an amazing moment for Edinburgh in what has been a long and important relationship between Canada and Scotland. Canadians have always had a strong affiliation with our country and, as we prepare to welcome the world with Homecoming, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup in 2014, the timing of this new service is perfect. We look forward to welcoming many more visitors from across the Atlantic over the summer.”

The Edinburgh-Toronto flight, AC1905, departs Edinburgh on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 10:15 a.m. and arrives in Toronto at 12:45 p.m. local time the same day. The return flight, AC1904, departs Toronto on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8:40 p.m. and arrives in Edinburgh at 8:30 a.m. the next day (all times local).

The aircraft features player, a next-generation wireless in-flight entertainment system that enables customers to stream films, TV programmes, music and destination information direct to their personal electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. player will be complimentary until 1 August 2013 and customers will pay $5 CDN (approximately £3.15) thereafter. Themed music playlists and destination information will continue to be streamed for free.

Air Canada rouge customers arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport can connect with Air Canada flights to destinations across Canada, the United States and throughout the Americas. Customers are also eligible for Air Canada’s generous checked and carry-on baggage allowance as well as Aeroplan Miles and can earn Aeroplan non-status Miles on Tango bookings and Air Canada Status Miles on Tango Plus and Latitude fares.


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