For the first time in nearly four decades, Quebec’s economic hub will be directly linked to Italy’s financial
and economic capital thanks to a new Montreal-Milan flight.
This significant investment by Air Canada is part of its post-pandemic plan to revive its activities, while
also contributing, in its own way, to the province’s economic recovery.
Milan, which is located in Lombardy – one of Italy’s most industrialized regions – is an important
European hub, and is considered a leader in terms of finance, industry, and innovation across Europe.
Additionally, the region’s large number of attractions, such as Lakes Como and Garda, make it an
outstanding destination for first-class tourism.
Longstanding partners, Lombardy and Quebec share incredibly similar economic roots with a strong
focus on innovation and its complementary sectors of aeronautics, bioscience, information technology,
In the context of global post-pandemic economic recovery, Air Canada’s new liaison is as essential as
ever, as it will allow for a swift resumption of business relations and bilateral collaborations between
Quebec and its Italian partners.
Montréal : A strategic location
The ICCC recently had the opportunity to discuss this topic with Mark Galardo, Senior Vice-President of
Air Canada’s Network Planning and Revenue Management, who is responsible for outlining,
implementing, and expanding Air Canada’s global network. In fact, he is behind the airline’s additional
itineraries of Montreal-Rome in 2008, and of Montreal-Venice in 2014, which comes as no surprise given
his Italian roots and his relentless passion for the Bel Paese.
Recognized as one of the industry’s most qualified aerial networking experts and having been featured
in Canada’s prestigious “Top 40 Under 40” list, Mark Galardo has masterfully conducted the
inauguration of over 60 new connections in the past few years, while also overseeing Montreal’s
resurgence as an instrumental location for Air Canada.
“I’ve always known that Montreal could be a strategic location for Air Canada. Following the transfer
from Mirabel to Dorval, I was still persuaded that Montreal was underestimated and that Air Canada
had the power to transform the Montreal airport into an epicenter of the same caliber as Toronto’s,
while focusing mainly on French-speaking destinations. This strategy took flight with Geneva in 2009.
Ever since, we’ve launched nearly 30 new destinations. Today, Montreal is a competitive hub and
continues to stand out in North America.” – Mark Galardo
This new connection, which merges the Toronto-Montreal-Milan flights into one, will be offered 5 times
per week during the summer season, and 3-4 times per week during Winter. Officially launching in May
of this year, the newly renovated Airbus A330 fleet will provide a luxury experience and premium, all
commodities-included business class seats.
Air Canada : Attentive to its customers’ needs
Air Canada is relying on two particular components to support its economic recovery. To begin with,
they are focused on “VFR” travelers – those seeking to visit friends and family – to allow loved ones to
reunite after months of lockdowns. Canada is an undeniably multicultural society, and its citizens have
roots around the world. While the Italian community certainly acts as an example, there exists a
plethora of immigrant communities keen to reconnect with both their loved ones and home countries.
In addition, a large number of Canadians enjoy travelling for pleasure, and Air Canada has noted strong
signals indicating a renewed interest in foreign travel.However, this desire to travel is being met with a new reality, emerging from the current context and
“From a safety and security standpoint, Air Canada has already integrated important programs to ensure
on-board security. It is important to emphasize that plane cabins have always been incredibly safe due
to their HEPA filters, which purify the air every two to three minutes, guaranteeing a clean and safe
environment for both passengers and crew.” – Mark Galardo
More than ever, consumers appreciate the value of simplicity and efficiency. Customers are willing to
spend more on direct flights to avoid layovers, and are more demanding when it comes to travel
experience – expecting increased comfort and efficiency in both business and economy class.
Therefore, Air Canada has implemented a long-term strategy to optimize their client experience, by
assuring the best service and presenting clear policies to its customers to allow for a pleasant and
efficient journey, from beginning to end.