Air Canada's new low-cost service will be called Rouge, begin flying in July

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TORONTO - Air Canada says its new Rouge low-cost carrier will begin flying on July 1.

The new airline will fly to Venice in Italy and Edinburgh in Scotland, two destinations that currently aren't served by Air Canada.

Rouge will also serve Athens and other destinations in Europe and the Caribbean from Montreal and Toronto.

Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) executives are on hand as the company also hosts a vacation giveaway in Toronto's downtown Yonge-Dundas Square.

The discount carrier will begin operations with two Boeing 767-300ER and two Airbus A319 aircraft that will be released from Air Canada's mainline fleet.

Additional planes will be added as Air Canada starts to take delivery of new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in 2014, ramping up to 50 planes.

Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and international airline and the 15th largest airline in the world, serving more than 33 million passengers last year.

Competitor WestJet (TSX:WJA) is launching a discount regional carrier in the second half of next year.

WestJet Encore will cater to smaller markets with Bombardier Q400 propeller aircraft.

The company says it will announce the schedule for WestJet Encore early next year.

Organizations: Air Canada, TSX, WestJet

Geographic location: TORONTO, Venice, Italy Edinburgh Scotland Athens Europe Caribbean Montreal Yonge-Dundas Square Canada

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