TORONTO — VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) has signed a partnership with Hainan Airlines, the first with a company based in China. As well, for the first time, this partnership will allow an airline company to sell VIA Rail tickets.
Hainan Airlines’ ticket offices and other travel agencies will be able to combine air and rail segments and issue a single electronic ticket with boarding passes for both the flight and train segments. Hainan Airlines passengers from China who are planning train travel in Canada will be able to book all legs of their journey at once and vice-versa for VIA Rail passengers who plan to travel to Toronto before flying on to China!
“We are excited about our first partnership with a Chinese airline and our very first partnership of this kind, offering a combined air-rail ticket,” saidMartin Landry, Chief Commercial Officer of VIA Rail. “China is the biggest-spending travel market in the world, and Chinese tourism to Canada has been growing over the past few years. Canadians continue to show great interest in visiting China as well, so this collaboration is very exciting.”
According to the Canadian Tourism Commission, visits from China increased 21 per cent in 2010, 22.4 per cent in 2011 and 15.5 per cent in 2012.
“We are pleased to have a partnership with VIA Rail Canada,” said Jack Li, General Manager of International Marketing Division at Hainan Airlines.
Hainan Airlines flies more than 600 different routes, with domestic and international flights to around 90 destinations throughout China and Asia, as well as in Europe, America, Oceania and Africa. In Canada, the company has 10 flights weekly to and from Toronto.
About VIA Rail’s intermodal partnerships
More than 25 intermodal and affiliate partnerships were concluded since 2010 aimed at improving the interconnectivity with other passenger carriers across the country. To date, this strategy has led to partnerships with:
- Airline companies – Air Transat, Hainan Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Air North, Yukon’s Airline, Hawkair and First Air;
- Major urban transportation companies – Agence métropolitaine de transport in Montréal and GO Transit in Toronto;
- Motor coach transportation companies – notably AirConnect shuttle bus to Montréal Trudeau airport, Robert Q in South-West Ontario, Maritime Bus in Eastern-Canada, Red Arrow in Alberta and Pacific Coach Lines between Vancouver and Victoria.