WestJet Announces Big Changes to Winter Services

acefitt from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
acefitt from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – On August 8, the Canadian carrier, WestJet, announced that it will be returning 17 scheduled routes to its network during the winter season, as well as starting a new service between Vancouver and Penticton.

Return of the 17


Since 2019, these 17 routes that WestJet is bringing back to its network in time for its winter season scheduled, have all been paused. Primarily due to the lapse in air travel demand for these routes continued during the pandemic.

With the restart of these 17 services, WestJet’s sun and leisure flights will increase by 45% compared to 2021’s winter schedule, their trans-border flights are also up 60% and transatlantic flights will be up 25%. All in good stead showing positive signs of the carriers’ recovery from the two-year woes of the Covid pandemic ripping up the air travel industry.

The 17 route restarts are as follows –

  • Transborder
    • Kelowna to Phoenix – Restarts from November 16 as a once-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Saskatoon to Las Vegas – Restarts from November 10 as a twice-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Saskatoon to Orlando – Restarts from December 16 as a once-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Regina to Las Vegas – Restarts from November 10 as a twice-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Regina to Orlando – Restarts from December 16 as a once-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Vancouver to Orlando – Restarts from November 12 as a once-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Winnipeg to Phoenix – Restarts from October 31 as a twice-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • St. John’s to Tampa Bay – Restarts from March 19, 2023, as a once-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
  • Caribbean, Mexico & Central America
    • Calgary to Belize City – Restarts from November 18 as a once-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Calgary to Nassau – Restarts from November 26 as a once-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Calgary to Varadero – Restarts from November 5 as a one-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Comox to Puerto Vallarta – Restarts from November 5 as a once-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Ottawa to Montego Bay – Restarts from November 12 as a twice-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Regina to Cancun – Restarts from November 13 as a twice-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Toronto to Cayo Coco – Restarts from November 5 as a once-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Toronto to Samana – Restarts from December 17 as a once-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
    • Winnipeg to Montego Bay – Restarts from December 17 as a once-weekly service operated by mainline WestJet.
  • Domestic
    • Edmonton to Nanaimo – Restarts from October 30 as a three-times-weekly service operated by WestJet Encore.

Commenting on the 17 new route restarts, WestJet Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, John Weatherill, has said, “The restart of these routes is another positive step in the restoration of our network as we solidify WestJet as the reliable, friendly and affordable airline we are known to be.”

“We recognise the past three winters have been disruptive to our guests’ travel plans and we look forward to reconnecting Canadians to some of the warmer destinations they have missed the most.”

The New Penticton Service


On top of the restarts of the 17 routes that WestJet is doing this coming winter season, the carrier will also be starting a new service between Penticton and Vancouver

This new route will inaugurate on February 17, 2023, and will be operated by WestJet Link marking the division’s 11th destination. The new service will be operated six times per week, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. WestJet also serves Penticton from Calgary and is the only airline to do so directly.

The new route will be operated by WestJet Link’s Saab 340 aircraft, of which the subsidiary has a total of three that are branded in WestJet colours with 34 seats as the aircraft are operated by Pacific Coastal Airline.

Commenting on the new route, WestJet’s Director of Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs, Jared Mikoch-Gerke, says, “The addition of new intra-provincial routes is critical as we invest in our presence in the West and look to strengthen our offerings to ensure British Columbians have more access to convenient and affordable air travel.”

“This new route marks the initial steps in our renewed commitment to B.C., and will open up connections and opportunities for local businesses and residents as they recover from the difficult past few years.”

Adding to Mikoch-Gerke’s comments, The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, adds, “This new service will not only connect British Columbians and all Canadians who will use this route but will also create good local jobs and help grow our economy. Our government operates the Penticton Airport to provide safe and reliable service for the Okanagan communities and today’s announcement will do just that.”

Mayor John Vassilaki, also says, “The expansion of WestJet service is another example of the growth that Penticton is experiencing. As more and more people recognise the advantages of living and working here, the addition of more direct flights to Vancouver will benefit everyone – from tourists to businesspeople. I’m pleased WestJet sees the potential for growth and look forward to the partnership between the airline and the airport being a strong factor in our economic development.”

Overall


All in all, WestJet is certainly seeing pent-up demand throughout the Canadian air travel industry, and these 17 restarts and new routes certainly show that the carrier is on its way to a full recovery from the pandemic-written past couple of years.

About the author

Jamie Clarke

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