Air Canada to launch low-cost airline

Canada's largest airline plans to launch a low-cost carrier, according to an announcement made by the company's CEO this week.

During a conference call held on August 8, the company's CEO, Calin Rovinescu, announced the plans, adding that the company has "the ability to operate a low cost carrier with up to 50 aircraft, consisting of a mix of A319s and Boeing 767s." No other specifics were discussed during the call.

The announcement came as part of the disclosure of the company's financial results.

The Globe and Mail reported back in June that Air Canada was looking into launching a low-cost international carrier in Vancouver "in a bid to tap into the potential of Asian destinations." According to a report by Bloomberg News, the new low-cost carrier may be operating as soon as 2013.

The new carrier would compete with WestJet, Canada's first low-cost carrier, which is set to launch a premium economy class starting later this month. WestJet operates in Canada, the US and the Caribbean. Other competitors would include Air Transat, flying to Latin America, Europe, the Caribbean and Florida, and Sun Wing, flying to Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and Florida.