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Rocky Lo of Air Canada (on the left in the gold tunic) toasting the Year of the Monkey with travel agents.

Words and Images by Amanda Stutt

Air Canada ushered in the Year of the Monkey—the new Chinese lunar year that officially began February 7—with a traditional nine-course dinner at Richmond’s Kirin Restaurant this week.

Designed to thank their travel partners for a hugely successful 2015, the event kicked off with a performance of traditional Chinese New Year dances by fully-costumed performers, much to the delight of the iPhone-wielding travel agent audience.

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Before visiting each table to officially toast the Year of the Monkey, Rocky Lo, Air Canada’s director of business development for Asia, took centre stage to highlight the previous year’s successes.

In addition to record revenues, 2015 turned out to be one of the biggest years ever for the Asia Pacific market, which saw expanded Boeing 787 Dreamliner services from Vancouver to Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo/Narita. Last Spring also saw the launch of Air Canada rouge service between Vancouver and Osaka.

Looking forward, Lo announced the upcoming launch of service to Casablanca this summer—Air Canada’s first Africa Destination on its own steel. All these international expansions will require new planes and the carrier is expecting delivery of between 45 and 75 Bombardier C aircraft by 2017.

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Julie Gilfillan and Marigold Frontuna of Air Canada Vacations.

The evening’s festivities included games, prizes and trip giveaways, as well as more announcements by Air Canada Vacations. Marigold Frontuna, ACV’s general manager for sales in western Canada offered the final toast of the evening to 2015’s record passenger sales, and officially welcomed Julie Gilfillan (formerly of TravelBrands) to the ACV family in the role of area sales manager for BC. Congratulations, Julie, and happy Year of the Monkey to everyone at Air Canada!

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