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Air Canada Discount Carrier Taking Off in July

In a press statement released Tuesday, Canadian airline company Air Canada introduced its new low-cost leisure airline service, named Air Canada rouge.

Rouge will begin flying in July 2013 from Toronto and Montreal to several international destinations, including new routes Venice, Italy, and Edinburgh, which have not been previously serviced by Air Canada. Other rouge destinations include Athens, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Costa Rica.

Rouge is Air Canada's attempt to recapture market share lost to competitors by tapping into the leisure travel market. The airline will initially fly with two Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) 767-300ER aircraft and two Airbus A319 aircraft released from the main Air Canada fleet, expanding as the main carrier begins acquiring Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner airliner in 2014.

Air Canada launches rouge -- whose name was chosen following a contest on Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) -- at a time when Canadian rival and low-cost airline WestJet prepares to open its own regional airline, Encore.

Air Canada Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Ben Smith offered detail on rouge in the statement, saying, "In partnership with Air Canada Vacations, part of our new leisure group, Air Canada rouge will leverage the strengths of Air Canada's extensive network, operational expertise and frequent flyer reward program in order to offer Canadians great value for their vacation travel."

As part of its initial launch, rouge will also service Air Canada's existing flight paths to Cuba, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.


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