United Airlines and Air Canada
| © J Hopwood / Shutterstock

United Airlines and Air Canada has announced a joint business agreement for the Canada-U.S transborder market. The two are building on an already strong relationship between the two carriers. 

The agreement will allow customers of both airlines to benefit from more flight options and improved flight schedules when travelling between the two North American countries. 

Better together 

On 22 July, United Airlines and Air Canada announced a joint business agreement for the Canada-U.S transborder market. Building on their long-standing and successful alliance, the agreement will make transborder travel easier. 

Customers of both airlines will be able to connect to 38 codeshare destinations in the U.S and 8 of the most popular destinations in Canada as a result of the agreement. You can now search for flights to and between the North American countries on both United’s and Air Canada’s websites.

Travellers will also be able to reap the benefits of the carrier’s loyalty programmes. 

In 2019, the Canada-U.S transborder market was extremely profitable as the second largest international passenger air transportation market in the world, and the largest international market for both Canada and the United States (by seats). 

Patrick Quayle is the Senior Vice President of Global Network Planning and Alliances at United Airlines. He commented on the new agreement with Air Canada:

“With this new agreement, we are further strengthening our long-standing partnership with Air Canada. As international travel continues to recover, this expanded partnership will provide an enhanced experience for all transborder travel.” 

United Airlines
United Airlines operates a large domestic and international network. It is one of the major carriers in the United States. | © Reuters

Mark Galardo is the Senior Vice President of Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada. He spoke positively of the Chicago-based carrier and what the agreement means for the relationship between them and United:

“United is a world-class airline and we are pleased to significantly expand our well-established partnership to further enhance the customer journey between Canada and the U.S. by offering more choice, greater convenience and an improved airport experience. This agreement marks a new phase in our evolving relationship that will speed the recovery from the pandemic and strengthen both carriers. It will also enable us to optimize our hubs and schedules and to broaden our global network connectivity to maintain our leadership in the market.” 

Air Canada
Air Canada is the largest airline of Canada by fleet size and passengers carried. | © Adrian Pingstone via Britannica

Under the new joint business agreement, United and Air Canada are simply building upon a pre-existing positive partnership. Canada’s national carrier and the major U.S carrier  already cooperate in the transborder market, according to the terms of their existing U.S antitrust immunity. The two are also both founding members of Star Alliance. But under this new agreement, the two airlines will now be able to do following:

  • Coordinate their networks and schedules, enabling the carriers to offer customers more choice, including more flights throughout the day and more access to each airline’s seat inventory.
  • Enhance codeshare on transborder flights, excluding certain U.S. leisure markets and territories. The carriers anticipate customers will be able to connect to 46 transborder codeshare destinations with more than 400 daily frequencies in 2022 – with opportunities to add more codeshare destinations for domestic routes within Canada and the U.S.
  • Sell seats on each other’s transborder flights and share revenue on flights between hub markets (where regulatory authorities and antitrust requirements allow), allowing the carriers to grow their overall capacities.
  • Align customer policies for greater consistency and enable the seamless provision of onboard products, establish airport co-locations where available and provide extra value to each carriers’ frequent flyer programs.
  • Allow the two carriers to work closer together to advance their sustainability objectives.

What do you make of this agreement between two heavyweights of the industry? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!


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