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Air Canada to begin flights out of Jacksonville earlier than scheduled

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Air Canada announced Monday that nonstop service between Jacksonville and Toronto will begin earlier then expected.

Service will begin May 7, 2016 instead of the original scheduled date of May 21.

The new date gives Canadian tourists a nonstop option to attend The Players Championship, which begins May 10.

"We are thrilled with this new service and schedule," said Matt Rapp, executive director of The Players. "As we continue to grow our national and international fan base, a non-stop flight option from Canada will help give our neighbors to the north an easier way to be a part of history at The Players in May as we showcase the very best field in golf on an incredible course."

"Many Canadians love golf almost as much as going to Florida, so we are very pleased to adjust our schedule to accommodate fans attending The Players. Beyond this, our new service will make it easier to travel between Toronto and Jacksonville and Northeast Florida year-round, while also giving local residents more travel options, both to visit Canada or connect to our international network," said Lisa Pierce, senior director, U.S. Sales and Market Development at Air Canada.

The announcement has also drawn the attention of local convention and visitor bureaus:

"We're very excited that Air Canada has elected to move up the starting date of service so our Canadian golfers can be here to experience the most fan friendly golf tournament in the world," Richard Goldman, executive director of the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors & Convention Bureau said.

"The new Air Canada date and service gives Canadian travelers a chance to enjoy one of the premier golf tournaments in the nation while at the same time experiencing Jacksonville and letting our region show how we create unforgettable experiences for our visitors." said Paul Astleford, president and CEO of Visit Jacksonville. "We look forward to welcoming thousands of new visitors on Air Canada, and helping them discover a new side of Florida."

Right now flights will only happen on the weekends. Flights will depart JAX at 12:15 p.m. and arrive in Toronto at 2:55 p.m. Return flights from Toronto will depart at 9:20 a.m. and arrive at JAX at 11:40 a.m.