Step aside Sydney, it looks as though Melbourne may be the new ‘it’ Australian city for international air travel, with Air Canada becoming the latest airline to plan long-haul services from Victoria’s capital.

The North American carrier surprised Melburnians this morning with the announcement of seasonal flights taking off to the city later this year, making Melbourne the airline’s third Australian port after Sydney and Brisbane.

Operating for three months from 3 December 2017, Air Canada’s slow and strategic expansion around Australia will give Melbourne-based business and leisure travellers more choice for travel – something they’ve increasingly gained access to over the last 12 months.

Air Canada plane

In addition to Air Canada’s four times weekly Vancouver-Melbourne route, Melburnians recently welcomed the return of Virgin Australia’s direct service to Los Angeles. LATAM also opened the city up to South America with the destination’s first non-stop service to Santiago in Chile and more recently, SriLankan Airlines indicated plans to return to Australia with flights to Melbourne.

Maybe the airlines are all being drawn to Melbourne Airport’s major redevelopment? You know what they say, ‘if you build it, they will come’.

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According to General Manager Australia and New Zealand Paul McLean, the carrier’s decision to add Melbourne to the airline’s fast-expanding global network represents a major vote of confidence in the Australian market.

“By operating the only non-stop service between Melbourne and Canada we are making it easier than ever before for Victorians to experience Canada’s unsurpassed winter attractions, which include some of the world’s leading ski resorts in British Columbia and Alberta.”

Paul McLean, Air Canada General Manager Australia and New Zealand

“The new Melbourne flights will also allow travellers to seamlessly connect with our non-stop flights from Vancouver to popular US destinations, including New York and Las Vegas – a feature that has proved exceptionally popular with passengers on our daily non-stop flights from Sydney and Brisbane.”

Air Canada belly

The three-month service will be operated by the carrier’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft featuring International Business Class with the next generation lie-flat pod, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class. If Melbourne is lucky enough, it might even be one of the aircraft sporting Air Canada’s new livery.

Flights will depart Victoria’s capital at 11:40am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Passengers will touch down in Vancouver, Air Canada’s trans-Pacific hub, at 7:30am, enabling convenient connections to a range of key destinations across Canada and the US.

Are you happy to see more airlines operating beyond Sydney?