Ex Yu Aviation reports that Toronto and Zagreb will no longer be connected by Air Canada Rouge, as tickets were officially removed from sale this week. The news comes just after Air Canada was given government approval to acquire leisure carrier Air Transat, which also operates to the Croatian capital.
Namely, the federal government approved Air Canada’s purchase of competing airline Air Transat last week. Air Canada should now merge the Rouge brand into Air Transat, thus leaving the chances of both Air Canada and Air Transat operating Zagreb services unlikely. It could also raise competition in Europe.
“The Commission is concerned that the transaction could significantly reduce competition on 33 origin and destination (O&D) citypairs between the European Economic Area (EEA) and Canada. The Commission’s preliminary market investigation revealed that Air Canada and Transat have been historically competing head-to-head for the passenger air transport services between the EEA and Canada. In particular, with its Air Canada Rouge brand, Air Canada developed a business model to address the lower-cost and leisure-oriented nature of the EEA-Canada passenger air transport markets, thus directly competing with Transat,” said the European Commission.
Zagreb is not the only victim of this merger, as Air Canada Rouge has also canceled services in Central and Eastern Europe, like Warsaw and Bucharest.
Recall, Air Canada Rouge did not work in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic but had plans to resume traffic on May 6. Toronto and Zagreb were to be connected four times per week until early October, with 140 return operations planned.
In 2019, both Rouge and Air Transat handled 65.486 passengers in the Croatian market, a 14.6% increase compared to the year before.
However, the good news is that Air Transat plans to resume seasonal flights between Toronto and Zagreb on May 11, increasing their operation up to three flights a week during the peak summer months.
Air Transat should operate 114 return flights with 36,660 seats available, with services operated by the Airbus A330-200 jet.
Ex Yu Aviation adds that as it currently stands, all Canadian citizens must quarantine upon returning to Canada for two weeks, while entry for most foreign nationals is banned into Canada. These restrictions have been in place for almost a year, and whether they will change by May remains to be seen.