Air Canada is Canada’s largest airline, the country’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network.
The carrier was created by the Government of Canada in 1937, at which time it was known as Trans-Canada Air Lines, making it among the oldest airlines in the world. Early on in its history, the carrier began service to the West Indies and Caribbean region, which today remains a very important market for Air Canada.
In 1948, using its new North Star aircraft, Trans-Canada began twice-weekly service flying a circuit from Montreal to Nassau-Kingston-Port of Spain, with Barbados added to the schedule the following year. The region featured prominently in the development of the airline from its earliest days, when it was much smaller and only flew about 530,000 passengers a year – the same amount it now carries in less than four days.
The airline’s service to the Caribbean expanded steadily as the airline evolved into a privately owned, Canadian global champion. This growth reflects not only the demand from Canadian travellers seeking warm weather during the harsh Canadian winter, but also the deep and longstanding family, business and trade relations existing between Canada and the region.
Air Canada prides itself on being an economic driver in the communities it serves. It supports the tourism industry by offering 525 hotels across the Caribbean through Air Canada Vacations, but its activities extend far beyond this. Along with cargo carried on its regular flights, Air Canada also operates cargo freighters to the region. In 2023, Air Canada carried about 7,000 tonnes of freight to-and-from Caribbean markets. The majority was imports to Canada, and the trade included shipments from Canada such as manufactured goods and e-commerce items, and imports such as pharmaceuticals and fruit, herbs and other perishables.
This past winter the airline flew to 28 Caribbean destinations and operated 320 flights weekly. For more than 75 years, Air Canada has served the region, and is committed to deepening furthering this already strong relationship.
Furthermore, for three years, Air Canada has been proud to partner with the University of West Indies, contributing to the success of the UWI’s Toronto Benefit Gala. We recognize exceptional Canadian Caribbean nationals, supporting scholarships for UWI students facing financial challenges. Air Canada is committed to our partnership and supporting the UWI and its students as they achieve new heights.