Air Canada launches ground-transportation jetliner service

MONTREAL, February 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada today announced a new ground-transportation jetliner service connecting Toronto, Ontario to Vancouver, British Columbia. These flights, which never actually leave the ground, will operate three times weekly using specially modified Airbus A319 aircraft with a total passenger capacity of 14 in executive class and 106 in hospitality service. The jetliners have had their wings removed in order to effectively navigate the Trans-Canada Highway from Toronto to Vancouver.

The new route will be operated by Air Canada and is being introduced to respond to new market opportunities made possible by a general increase in the fear of flying among its passengers, as well as competitive pressures from Via Rail and Greyhound Bus Lines.

"The arrival of jet aircraft on Canada's highways allows Air Canada to offer customers more options when arranging their travel schedule," said spokesperson Milbert Robson. "As the nation's largest airline, we simply cannot ignore the fact that ground transportation offers a viable alternative to our target demographic."

The announcement comes on the heels of a report that more Canadians are canceling travel plans or avoiding airports because of long line-ups and heightened security regulations. For example, passengers are not permitted to bring their own water bottles onto traditional airplanes, but there are no such restrictions for wingless jetliners that travel only along surface roads.

"Without wings, these planes can't fly," explained Robson.

The Air Canada Toronto-Vancouver ground route takes just 37 hours from terminal to terminal, an increase of only 33 hours over the same air route. All pilots hold valid driver's licences.

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