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Air Canada plans to expand its transatlantic presence next year, taking advantage of an aviation pact between Canada and the European Union. "This new agreement opens up a realm of new commercial opportunities for Air Canada throughout the EU," Air Canada chief operating officer Duncan Dee said in a statement yesterday. The carrier will also benefit from a four-company joint venture - dubbed Atlantic Plus-Plus - involving Continental Airlines Corp., United Airlines Inc., Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Air Canada. The Canada-EU agreement is a more important deal now than it would have been a year ago, when a tentative pact was announced, an industry insider said, adding that Air Canada will be pursuing a bigger international push in 2010. AC.B (TSX) rose 4 cents to $1.19.

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