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VIA Rail Canada sets foot in China


VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) has signed a partnership with Hainan Airlines, the first to be concluded with a company based in China. As well, for the first time, this partnership will allow an airline company to sell VIA Rail tickets.

Hainan Airlines’ ticket offices and other travel agencies will be able to combine air and rail segments and issue a single electronic ticket with boarding passes for both the flight and train segments. Hainan Airlines passengers from China who are planning train travel in Canada will benefit from the convenience of booking all legs of their journey at once. And vice-versa for VIA Rail passengers who plan to travel to Toronto before flying on to China!

“We are excited about our first partnership with a Chinese airline and our very first partnership of this kind, offering a combined air-rail ticket,”declared Martin R. Landry, Chief Commercial Officer at VIA Rail. “China is the biggest-spending travel market in the world, and Chinese tourism to Canada has been growing over the past few years. Canadians continue to show great interest in visiting China as well, so this collaboration is very exciting.”

According to the Canadian Tourism Commission, visits from China increased 21% in 2010, 22.4% in 2011 and 15.5% in 2012.

“We are pleased to have a partnership with VIA Rail Canada. Based on our concept of “Care More”, this cooperation will facilitate our passengers’ trips to Canada for both flight and train segments,” said Jack Li, General Manager of International Marketing Division at Hainan Airlines.

Hainan Airlines flies more than 600 different routes, with domestic and international flights to some 90 destinations throughout China and elsewhere in Asia, as well as in Europe, America, Oceania and Africa. In Canada, the company offers 10 flights weekly to and from Toronto. Hainan Airlines, China’s fourth-largest air carrier, flew 23.3 million passengers to their destinations in 2012. Hainan Airlines was recognized with a 5-star airline rating for the quality of their product and services by Skytrax in 2013.

About VIA Rail’s intermodal partnerships
More than 25 intermodal and affiliate partnerships were concluded since 2010 aimed at improving the interconnectivity with other passenger carriers across the country. To date, this strategy has led to partnerships with:

  • Airline companies – Air Transat, Hainan Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Air North, Yukon’s Airline, Hawkair and First Air;
  • Major urban transportation companies – Agence métropolitaine de transport in Montréal and GO Transit in Toronto;
  • Motor coach transportation companies – notably AirConnect shuttle bus to Montréal Trudeau airport, Robert Q in South-West Ontario, Maritime Bus in Eastern-Canada, Red Arrow in Alberta and Pacific Coach Lines between Vancouver and Victoria.

About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada ( and its 2,500 employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across Canada, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. The Corporation was awarded seven Safety Awards by the Railway Association of Canada over the last eight years, and was the recipient of the 2012 Agent’s Choice Award voted by Canadian travel agents and presented by Baxter Travel Media. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested almost a billion dollars in VIA Rail. Read more about our transformation at

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