Air Canada can’t afford to suffer through a washout

Air Canada has raised its capacity on transpacific flights to Vancouver by an average of 2.7 percent, the Montreal-based airline said Friday. Air Canada said it plans to boost cargo capacity by 2.7 percent…

Air Canada can’t afford to suffer through a washout

Air Canada has raised its capacity on transpacific flights to Vancouver by an average of 2.7 percent, the Montreal-based airline said Friday.

Air Canada said it plans to boost cargo capacity by 2.7 percent as well, mostly for flying from international destinations.

The airline said it did not do so as a result of the two-week washout that washed most major highways through Metro Vancouver, cutting about a quarter of the region’s highway capacity. But that problem happened just before the Chinese New Year on Feb. 10, which was an important travel day for Chinese and other tourists traveling north to Vancouver.

“They were big peaks in demand,” said Bradley Tingle, the airline’s senior vice president of network planning and government affairs, during a conference call Thursday afternoon. “Those peaks got consumed.”

The carrier also didn’t do the increase, he said, for security reasons: The shipping industry would not allow Air Canada to add extra cargo on flights that required a higher fuel burn.

In the wake of the Air Canada increase, China’s State Council said Thursday it has cleared a 28-day delay in the resumption of Air Canada’s transpacific flights. The Vancouver airport had said it wouldn’t reopen until mid-May, and S.C.’s online public information website said the resumption will take place on May 12.

Air Canada had cut its overseas flights in response to the Dec. 22 Canadian federal government decision to impose a $12.5 million dollar fine on it, saying the airline had denied it permission to have its planes use a bigger passenger terminal in response to a court order.

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