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282-passenger 767-300 wide-body jet returns for Victoria-Toronto flights in 2019

An Air Canada Rouge 767-300ER flying above Vancouver Island. The airline will re-instate a daily service between Victoria and Toronto utilizing the 282-passenger wide-body jet on May 1st of 2019.  Brian Losito/Air Canada

282-passenger 767-300 wide-body jet returns for Victoria-Toronto flights in 2019

Air Canada is re-launching wide-body jet service between Victoria International (YYJ) and Toronto International airports next spring after a hiatus in 2018, according to scheduling information released by the airline.

An Air Canada Rouge-branded Boeing 767-300ER (extended range) jetliner with capacity for 282 passengers will return to the skies over Victoria on May 1st as a second daily Air Canada departure to Toronto. The 1:20PM flight will continue until late October at which point the carrier will wind down to its single year-round direct connection operated with a 200-passenger Rouge Airbus A321.

At 156 feet in length, the 767-300ER will be the largest regularly scheduled aircraft to operate out of Victoria International. Although larger jets have flown out of YYJ in the past, Air Canada's service represents the only (thus far) regularly scheduled wide-body flight for 2019.

Use of the twin-aisle jetliner from Victoria was initially  launched in the early days of summer back in 2017, which reportedly came following several years of near or at-capacity peak travel operations for the airline on its route between the BC Capital and Canada's busiest air hub. Scheduling with the wide-body jet terminated that October and in 2018 the carrier opted to use the smaller A321 for its second daily Toronto flight from Victoria.

By passenger volume and flight frequency, Air Canada is Victoria International Airport’s most prominent airline with 20-to-30 daily departures throughout the year utilizing Bombardier Dash-8 prop planes and single-aisle Airbus jetliners.

With growing demand for flights out of YYJ, the Victoria Airport Authority has embarked on a $19.4 million, 35,000 square foot terminal expansion now underway adjacent to the lower departure lounge. The expanded terminal will accommodate the airport's passenger growth until the mid-2020's by which point another expansion is likely to commence. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2020.

The airport's passenger growth in 2017 outpaced 2016's then record-breaking volume by 4.2%, pushing the number of arriving and departing passengers to 1,934,842 from 1,856,421. This placed YYJ tenth among the country's 15 busiest airports (behind Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport in downtown Toronto and just ahead of Kelowna International Airport). 2018 passenger volumes are expected to set yet another record. C

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