COMPETITIVE BREW

Air Canada Anchors Position at Billy Bishop Airport with New “Aspire” Cafe

On 01JUN, Open Jaw got a first hand look at Air Canada’s newly announced premium lounge at Toronto's Billy Bishop City Airport (YTZ).

The Aspire Air Canada Café is a collaboration between the carrier and Swissport's premium lounge brand, and offers eligible Air Canada customers dedicated access to the only airline lounge at Toronto's downtown airport. Scott O'Leary, Vice President Loyalty and Product, said the lounge is aimed at frequent customers in the triangle.

"This airport represents the largest concentration of premium customers that didn't already have a lounge," he said in a one-on-one interview. "Our premium customers, the more they travel in and out of a particular airport, the more their expectations or at least their hopes are for a consistent experience. This was a very natural expansion of our already existing lounge network in Canada."

The main waiting area for Air Canada and Porter customers at YTZ is a very nice space, O'Leary said, "but it's not a lounge. Whether you're here for a minute or you're here for an hour, we want to make sure you can carve out an elevated and exclusive experience for yourself."

When asked if it gives Air Canada an advantage over its YTZ rival, O'Leary smiled. "I consider that a collateral benefit."

The 133-seat restaurant offers a dedicated dining area and bar with a modern look and sits within Billy Bishop's domestic terminal. Quiet workspaces, a private meeting room and premium food and drinks to stay or go are among the complimentary amenities in the café-style executive lounge.

Billy Bishop YTZ represents marks the 27th lounge in Air Canada's lounge network and the sixth Canadian location for Aspire. A new Air Canada lounge in San Francisco will open later this month.

"From a Canadian context, this puts us by a country mile ahead of any other lounge provider in the country in terms of airport presence," O'Leary said.

He also said Air Canada's largest clubs will be brought up to new design standards over the next five years.

The new facility has also been built with sustainability in mind. As Swissport Canada CEO Charles Roberge said in a statement: "Our newest lounge is Toronto's first Aspire Lounge and aims to be the first LEED-certified lounge in Swissport's international network of 63 Aspire lounges."

The Aspire | Air Canada Café is available to Air Canada customers who are Aeroplan 50K, 75K, or Aeroplan Super Elite Status members, Star Alliance Gold members, and Aeroplan premium co-brand cardholders, as well as travellers connecting to an Air Canada business class ticket.

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