Montreal, Canada Oct. 10, 2001 (AP)--Air Canada is starting up a discount airline aimed at Canadian leisure travelers looking for vacation bargains to Florida or cheap flights across the country.
Tango airline will start taking reservations Thursday for flights beginning Nov. 1, according to a statement released Wednesday.
The announcement comes as Air Canada, the nation's dominant carrier, is cutting thousands of jobs and seeking government help to cope with lost revenue in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
It announced 5,000 job cuts on Sept. 26, on top of 4,000 announced before the attacks, and also reduced its flight schedule by 20 percent, removing 84 aircraft from its fleet.
The Canadian government last week said it was providing $105 million in emergency aid for the airline industry. More than half was expected to go to Air Canada to make up for revenue lost when flights were canceled in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Air Canada said plans for the Tango carrier were in place before the terrorist attacks.
``In the post-September 11 world of depressed demand, a move in this direction is all the more necessary, as we need to aggressively promote all consumer incentives that encourage and stimulate travel,'' said Robert Milton, the Air Canada president.
Tango should help stimulate the market and reduce costs, Milton said, noting the new airline is one of several moves by Air Canada to boost revenue.
Air Canada spokeswoman Renee Smith-Valade said the cost of launching Tango was ``minimal'' because it will use Air Canada aircraft and staff. Tango's fleet will include 13 Airbus A320 aircraft reassigned from Air Canada.
It will compete with other Canadian discount carriers such as Canada 3000 and Air Transat, flying from Toronto to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.
Tango also will offer nonstop service between Toronto and Florida destinations including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa, along with nonstop service between Montreal and Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press