Beginning in October, the airline will make the round-trip three times a week. The seasonal service will coincide with Diwali celebrations and will run until April.
“The stars are becoming aligned for significant growth of this market and of these relationships”
Indian students currently make up the fastest growing group of international students coming into British Columbia. Randall Martin, executive director of the British Columbia Council for International Education, forecasted that the new flight path will benefit existing academic relationships and could aid student growth.
“The fact that we will soon enjoy direct and non-stop flights between BC and Delhi will be a huge boon to academic partnerships and student travel between India and BC, and in fact will benefit all of western Canada,” he said.
He added that with ongoing work to revitalise BC’s Trade and Investment office in India, “the stars are becoming aligned for significant growth of this market and of these relationships”.
Maria Mathai, director of market intelligence firm M.M Advisory Services and a specialist in India-Canada student mobility, said that the flight is unlikely to spur a large boost in incoming student numbers but said there may be “an indirect impact on student numbers, because of strengthening linkages between the two countries”.
“Direct impact on international student traffic from India to BC will be limited, if any. International student mobility is seasonal, and Indian students tend to be price sensitive shoppers,” she said. “They go for the best deals, not necessarily the shortest flights. ”
“The announcement of the direct Vancouver – Delhi flight is more a comment on the increased diplomatic and trade relations between BC and India,” she explained.
Indeed BC’s premier, Christy Clark, underlined that the new flight highlights the importance of the province’s increasingly strong ties with India.
“The cultural ties between India and British Columbia reach back 100 years, and with increasing trade and investment links, those ties are growing stronger every year,” she said.
“Air Canada’s new Vancouver-Delhi route reflects the increasing importance of our relationship with India.”