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New Air Canada Discount Carrier Debuts This Summer

Air Canada is birthing a brand-new low-cost carrier in 2013. The discount airline, called Rouge, will debut on July 1. Tickets for Rouge, which will operate 14 weekly flights from Canada to destinations in Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean, went on sale yesterday.

Some of the destinations to be served include Athens, Venice, and Edinburgh in Europe, as well as various Caribbean and Central American spots like Punta Cana, Kingston, San Jose, and Puerto Plata. The airline will fly from two departure cities: Montreal and Toronto.

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According to Reuters, Michael Friisdahl, Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada's Leisure Group, gave this statement at a launch ceremony: "The Air Canada Leisure Group will be well positioned in the highly competitive but growing leisure segment in Canada, with its strong value proposition and competitive cost structure." Rouge will augment Air Canada's service, with flights to some cities, such as Venice and Edinburgh, that are currently not served by the country's biggest airline.

Flights will feature free food and non-alcoholic drinks, and the airline will adopt Air Canada's baggage allowance (one free checked bag on international and domestic flights).

Introductory fares are competitive. According to The Toronto Star, "Flights will go from Toronto to Venice and Edinburgh and from Toronto and Montreal to Athens for as little as $949 round-trip, including all fees and taxes."

SmarterTravel saw similar prices. We spotted a flight from Toronto to Edinburgh for $947.75 round-trip including taxes and fees, departing Saturday, July 13 and returning Sunday, July 21. This is slightly better than what other airlines are offering for similar dates, but summer is still a ways away.

All in all, more competition is a boon for Canadian flyers. Rouge will mainly go up against WestJet Encore, another Canadian discounter set to start service in July.

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