Sunwing announces its return to Cuba – a perennial favourite among Canadians – with flights from gateways across the country

TORONTO, Sept. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Amid easing entry requirements and soaring vaccination rates in Cuba, along with competitive pricing for pre-departure PCR tests at $30 USD per person, Sunwing is pleased to announce that it will be offering weekly flights to the Canadian favourite destinations of Varadero and Cayo Coco. Flight service will be available from several gateways across Canada starting in October and November, including Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton. As winter progresses, more Canadian departure gateways and popular Cuban destinations are expected to be added to reflect evolving consumer demand.

“We’re thrilled to be helping our customers head back to the sunny shores of Cuba this fall under our wing,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations at Sunwing. “Cuba has been an integral part of our operations ever since our inaugural flight took off from Toronto to Varadero in 2005. Our Cuba program has continued to grow since then, and has been one of our most popular destinations over the past decade. The resort towns of Varadero and Cayo Coco both offer serene beach locations and secluded tourist areas for a relaxing retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities.”

The flight schedule will be as follows:

  • Between Toronto and Varadero, Fridays starting October 8, 2021
  • Between Toronto and Cayo Coco, Saturdays starting October 9, 2021
  • Between Montreal and Varadero, Fridays starting October 8, 2021
  • Between Montreal and Cayo Coco, Saturdays starting October 16, 2021
  • Between Calgary and Varadero, Tuesdays starting November 2, 2021
  • Between Edmonton and Varadero, Tuesdays starting November 2, 2021

With its pristine beaches, warm weather and a wide variety of resorts for every travel style, it’s no wonder that Canadian sun-seekers return to Cuba year after year. Grand Memories Varadero is a popular choice with fun-filled activities and a sprawling beach that’s perfect for soaking up the sun and building sandcastles. Vacationers headed to Cayo Coco may choose to stay at Iberostar Selection Playa Pilar, with oceanfront suites and the area’s only water playground; or Memories Flamenco Beach Resort, offering a range of water sports like snorkelling and catamaran rides.

Plus, all vacation packages booked by October 15, 2021 for departures between now and October 31, 2021 will include complimentary COVID-19 coverage at no additional charge.

About Sunwing
The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing has more flights to the south than any other leisure carrier with convenient direct service from airports across Canada to popular sun destinations across the U.S.A., Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. This scale enables Sunwing to offer customers exclusive deals at top-rated resorts in the most popular vacation destinations as well as cruise packages and seasonal domestic flight service. Sunwing customers benefit from the assistance of the company’s own knowledgeable destination representatives, who greet them upon arrival and support them throughout their vacation journey. The company supports the communities where it operates through the Sunwing Foundation, a charitable initiative focused on the support and development of youth and humanitarian aid.

Flair Airlines Extends Schedule Through Summer 2022

Canada’s favorite ULCC is confident in travel demand growth over the coming year and expands schedule in core Canadian and US markets

Edmonton, Alberta, September 9, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only true ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its surge to bring low fares to Canadians and has extended its flight schedule through Summer 2022 in core Canadian and US markets.

“As we grow our fleet and expand our service, we see the demand for Flair’s low fare travel continuing to explode across Canada. We are absolutely focused on rescuing Canadians from the bloated prices they have long suffered in flying,” says Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Flair Airlines. “Flair is committed to helping reunite families and make travel accessible for everyone, and our schedule extension will help passengers prepare for 2022 by knowing they can explore and connect without breaking the bank.”

The schedule expansion extends the booking period into Summer 2022. Many year-round and seasonal routes will see an increase in service including flights departing from Edmonton (YEG), Kelowna (YLW), Halifax (YHZ), Kitchener (YKF), Abbotsford (YXX), Winnipeg (YWG), Toronto (YYZ), Saint John (YSJ), Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC), Victoria (YYJ), Charlottetown (YYG), Thunder Bay (YQT), and Montreal (YUL).

Flair’s confidence in Canadian travel continuing to grow in 2022 is reflected in the ultra-low fares where cost efficiency and demand allow for pricing to start at just $29 CAD one-way on some routes. All routes and schedule details can be viewed at https://www.flyflair.com. More low fares and exciting summer route announcements will be coming soon! Be among the first to know by signing up for Flair’s newsletter https://www.flyflair.com/newsletter.

Flair is rapidly growing to serve Canadians with low fare flights, the extended schedule allows for more efficient planning for customers and airline partners. Deliveries of new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft throughout 2021 and 2022 continue to grow the fleet as Flair achieves its goal of 50 aircraft in five years. Flair continues to bring more jobs to the market and is hiring more staff and flight crew as it meets the growth demands of the airline.

About Flair Airlines

Flair Airlines is Canada’s only independent Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) and is on a mission to liberate the lives of Canadians by providing affordable air travel that connects them to the people and experiences they love. With an expanding fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, Flair is growing to serve 26 cities across Canada and North America. For more information, please visit http://www.flyflair.com

WestJet flights between Dawson Creek and Calgary take off

Air service returns to Dawson Creek as WestJet Link connects city to WestJet’s global hub

CALGARY, AB, Sept. 8, 2021 /CNW/ – Today, WestJet launched its newest route with the departure of WestJet Link flight 3027 connecting Calgary and Dawson Creek, B.C. The inaugural marks a new link for the regions’ business, travel and tourism markets as WestJet becomes the only carrier to provide nonstop service between the Peace River Region and its largest hub in Calgary, where the airline is the largest carrier, offering the most seats and flights.

“Our guests in both Calgary and the Peace River Region have been patiently awaiting this important milestone and we are thrilled to bring air service to the community,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “As we continue to build back our network, Dawson Creek will benefit from lower fares and connectivity across our network as we strive to reconnect Canadians for business and leisure.”

Upon flight 3027’s arrival in Dawson Creek, the inaugural service was celebrated by Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead alongside Chris Hedlin, WestJet’s Vice-President of Network Planning and key regional business leaders.

“The City of Dawson Creek is so pleased to welcome WestJet into our city and the entire South Peace region of Northeast BC. This new direct service to Calgary is so important to the economic development of our city,” said Dale Bumstead, Mayor, Dawson Creek. “The Energy, Forestry and Mining sectors are all very important to our region and this new service will be a welcome addition for industry while also providing our residents with nonstop air service to WestJet’s global hub in Calgary for their leisure and business travel.”

The new service and new route for WestJet operates four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.  WestJet Link flights are operated through a capacity purchase agreement with Pacific Coastal Airlines using its fleet of WestJet-branded 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft.

With the addition of Calgary-Dawson Creek service, WestJet Link now operates five routes between Calgary and Cranbrook, Lethbridge, Lloydminster and Medicine Hat and three between Vancouver and Cranbrook, Nanaimo and Comox.

Details of WestJet’s service between Calgary and Dawson Creek:

RouteFrequencyStart DateDepartureArrival
Calgary – Dawson Creek4x weeklySeptember 8, 20213:30 p.m4:37 p.m
Dawson Creek – Calgary4x weeklySeptember 8, 20215:15 p.m8:13 p.m

Additional quotes

“With many development projects happening across western Canada, the addition of WestJet’s Calgary to Dawson Creek, B.C. route is an important connection that supports economic development, benefiting both provinces,” said Chris Miles, Vice President, Operations & Infrastructure for The Calgary Airport Authority. “This route also provides guests in Northern B.C. direct access to Alberta and destinations across the country with YYC’s extensive connecting flight network.”

“We are very excited to be a part of the new air service to Dawson Creek,” says Pacific Coastal Airlines President, Quentin Smith. “We are pleased to see WestJet Link grow and look forward to our continued partnership and linking communities to the WestJet network.”

About WestJet 
In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All promise. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com

Eureka! We have found our way back to California – Westjet

WestJet brings back service between Calgary and Orange County/Anaheim, and transitions to year-round connectivity to San Francisco

CALGARY, AB, Aug. 23, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced it is growing its California network. The airline is reintroducing non-stop service between Orange County/Anaheim and Calgary, initially operating twice weekly, beginning November 4, 2021, and quickly transitioning to three times weekly on December 7, 2021. Additionally, the airline moves from summer flights to providing year-round service between Calgary and San Francisco, operating twice weekly, beginning October 31, 2021.

“We are excited to increase connectivity between the Golden State and Alberta, another step toward strengthening our presence as Western Canada’s largest air carrier, while restoring our transborder network,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “Whether visiting the many world-renowned theme parks in Orange County, escaping the cold winter to explore San Francisco’s coastline or jet setting to marvel at the Canadian Rockies, these routes will provide more affordable and convenient travel options for business and leisure travel.”

Delta codeshare partnership

WestJet guests flying to Orange County/Anaheim and San Francisco from Calgary will benefit from convenient connections, through WestJet’s codeshare partnership with Delta, gaining access to Delta’s extensive and expanding network of U.S. destinations. Additionally, top-tier WestJet Rewards members and Business cabin guests will enjoy benefits through their connections to Delta’s network including access to Delta Sky Club lounges.

Details of WestJet’s new service between Calgary and Orange County/Anaheim:

RouteFrequencyStart date
Calgary – Orange County/Anaheim2x weeklyNovember 4, 2021
3x weeklyDecember 7, 2021
Orange County/Anaheim – Calgary2x weeklyNovember 4, 2021
3x weeklyDecember 7, 2021

Details of WestJet’s new service between Calgary and San Francisco:

RouteFrequencyStart date
Calgary – San Francisco2x weeklyOctober 31, 2021
San Francisco – Calgary2x weeklyOctober 31, 2021

Additional quotes

“Congratulations to WestJet on the announcement of their direct route from YYC to Orange County, and the extended year-round capacity to the city famous for its Golden Gate bridge. These added U.S. routes strengthen our role as WestJet’s hub and provide more Albertans the ability to visit sunny California. We also say ‘hello/bonjour’ to Californians visiting Calgary given the eased restrictions for U.S. travelers.” The Calgary Airport Authority

About WestJet

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All promise. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

We’ll always have Paris – Westjet

WestJet restarts Calgary-Paris non-stop and continues momentum in rebuilding transatlantic network

CALGARY, AB, Aug. 20, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet today reinstated its position as the only airline to operate a non-stop route between Calgary and Paris with the departure of flight 10 from Calgary International Airport on the airline’s 787 Dreamliner. With the restart of service to Paris, WestJet becomes the airline serving the most European destinations, direct from its global hub in Calgary. WestJet introduced twice-weekly, non-stop, service between Calgary and Amsterdam on August 5 and is currently serving London (Gatwick) two times weekly, with both markets increasing to three-times weekly in September.

“We are thrilled to bring back this historic route between Calgary and Paris, reconnecting these two incredible cities and providing easy and unique travel opportunities throughout Europe for Western Canadians,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “Calgary to Paris is a key market for inbound tourism to Western Canada. Alongside a successful vaccination rollout across Canada, we are proud to see this route return and will continue to invest in the economic recovery and growth of both Calgary and Alberta, following the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In 2019, WestJet’s investment in direct flights from Europe to Alberta drove $90 Million in spend from 56,000 inbound travellers.

Air France codeshare partnership

The return of Calgary-Paris also restores WestJet’s longstanding codeshare partnership with Air France, giving Canadian business and leisure travellers the ability to seamlessly connect to and from 16 cities in greater Europe, including Rome, Venice, Athens and Lisbon. WestJet guests connecting through Air France are eligible to continue earning WestJet Dollars throughout their entire journey as they travel to their preferred European destinations.

Details of WestJet’s service between Calgary and Paris:

RouteFrequencyStart Date
Calgary – Paris1x weeklyAug. 20 – October 29, 2021
Paris – Calgary1x weeklyAug. 22 – October 31, 2021

Additional quotes

“Congratulations to WestJet on resuming their direct service from YYC to Paris. This transatlantic route will further strengthen our presence as WestJet’s global hub, as guests are once again able to experience the city of lights in just nine hours. We look forward to welcoming visitors from France and the region to Calgary as they make plans to travel again,” said Rob Palmer, Vice-President, Commercial, Strategy and Chief Financial Officer, of The Calgary Airport Authority.

“Connections to global markets are vital for attracting companies, capital and people to Calgary, said Brad Parry, Interim President & CEO, Calgary Economic Development. Having WestJet’s hub in Calgary, providing direct service to international markets like Paris, provides us with a competitive advantage. It is one of the many reasons global businesses continue to set up their offices and headquarters for North America in Calgary.”

“I am delighted with this excellent news. This resumption of traffic between Calgary and France will allow us to further develop economic and cultural exchanges between Western Canada and France. Thank you, WestJet, for reopening this route,” said Kareen Rispal French Ambassador to Canada.

About WestJet 

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All promise. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com

Government of Canada supporting the Calgary International Airport with new funding

Transport Canada

OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 13, 2021 /CNW/ – Helping airports mitigate the financial impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic is part of the Government of Canada’s strategy to ensure that our air transportation system provides Canadians with choice, connectivity, and affordable air travel. Investments in airport infrastructure are crucial to maintain safety, security, and connectivity for travellers, airport workers, and communities.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, and the Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies, the Honourable Jim Carr, announced new funding to help the Calgary International Airport recover from the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic and to support important transportation infrastructure projects at the airport.

The Government of Canada is providing the Calgary International Airport with close to $57.5 million from Transport Canada’s Airport Critical Infrastructure Program for the rehabilitation of the west runway (Runway 17R/35L).

The project will include removing the existing pavement structure, recycling all materials, rehabilitating the runway structure, installing new Runway End Safety Areas, and upgrading the runway’s electrical system. This project will help ensure continued airport safety for passengers, air crews, and airport workers.

Quotes

“Canada’s airports are major contributors to our economy and play a crucial role in sustaining the social and economic well-being of our communities. This financial support will ensure that, as Canada works towards recovery and travel restart post pandemic, the Calgary International Airport will be able to provide regional accessibility and safe, reliable, and efficient air services for residents and workers in the City of Calgary and its surrounding communities.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

“The Calgary International Airport keeps Albertans connected. Today, we’re investing nearly $57.5 million through the Airport Critical Infrastructure Program for the rehabilitation of the runway to enhance airport safety for travellers, air crews, and airport workers. This funding will allow for important upgrades while bolstering the regional economy as we recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Honourable Jim Carr
Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies

“On behalf of the crew at YYC Calgary International Airport, I’d like to thank the federal government for their investment in the West Runway Rehabilitation project, a critical piece of YYC infrastructure. The project will take two to three years to complete and create 200 to 300 jobs for Albertans. This investment reinforces our role as a vital hub well positioned to contribute to the economic growth of the region, and ensures the demands of passenger and cargo traffic are met as we look forward to a safe and secure return to travel.”

Bob Sartor
President and CEO
The Calgary Airport Authority

Quick Facts

  • The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program, launched in May 2021, will distribute $489.6 million in funding over five years to airports for eligible infrastructure projects related to safety, security, or connectivity to mass transit systems.
  • The federal contribution for the project at the Calgary International Airport will be up to 50% of total eligible expenditures of the project, to a maximum contribution of $57,484,066. The Airport will provide the remaining funding for the project.
  • First introduced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Airport Critical Infrastructure Program is part of a federal stimulus recovery plan designed to build a stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient economy post-COVID-19.

Related Product

Associated Link

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca

WestJet, partners agree: restart of travel and tourism essential for economic recovery

From Global News – link to source story and video

By Adam Toy  770 CHQR | Posted August 10, 2021

Click to play video: 'WestJet, partners agree restart of travel and tourism essential for economic recovery'
WATCH: WestJet hopes to achieve 11 years of growth in six months as the Calgary-based airline recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Adam MacVicar reports, stakeholders say Calgary’s tourism industry is tied directly to WestJet’s success.

After seeing demand decimated at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, WestJet is expecting to see challenges of a different sort as bookings recover.

“We saw literally 90 per cent of our demand drop away overnight,” Angela Avery, executive VP of external affairs, told a virtual roundtable.

“When you look at some of the really dark days back in the spring of 2020, we were literally on some days flying less than one per cent of the number of guests that we’d normally fly.”

Avery said WestJet lost 82 per cent of its guests at the worst point since the spring of 2020, but is seeing demand come back gradually.

WestJet polling across the country shows that more than 60 per cent of Canadians intend to travel domestically in the next six month, mostly to visit family members they haven’t been able to see through the earlier parts of the pandemic.

Avery said more than one fifth of Canadians anticipate coming to Alberta for family and tourism trips.

She said a third of Canadians are looking stateside for upcoming trips, a third are seeking sunny destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, and a fifth have their eye on European destinations.

Leisure travel will be just one part of WestJet’s recovery, with cargo and business travel expected to play important roles in projected growth.

“We will essentially be growing back 11 years’ worth of WestJet in just six months,” Avery said. “It means all kinds of pain points.”

Some of those pain points will include delays in systems and services like baggage, catering and even IT.

‘Please hold’

One current challenge is call volumes to the WestJet call centre.

“We’re experiencing essentially 140 per cent of the volumes that we experienced in 2019,” Avery said. “You say, ‘Well how is that possible? You’re not flying 140 per cent of what you were flying in 2019.’

“It’s possible because essentially everybody that’s calling right now has more complex calls to manage.”

Customer service agents are having to help callers navigate COVID-19-related travel considerations while booking travel that was previously restricted — travel that is weeks or months in the future.

Where the airline’s website previously listed estimated wait times, it now has a menu system that tries to answer frequently asked questions or direct customers to self-serve options.

Requesting a call-back results in bookings a week out, with the Calgary-based airline losing 70 per cent of its headcount through the pandemic.

Click to play video: 'WestJet passengers frustrated after services cut, refunds refused'WestJet passengers frustrated after services cut, refunds refused – Oct 15, 2020

“We’re not staffed to the levels that we need to be right now to serve our guests in the custom that we’re used to serving them, but we do have hiring plans and recall plans in place to address that,” WestJet chief commercial officer John Weatherill told Global News.

Bob Sartor, president and CEO of the Calgary Airport Authority, highlighted the challenge Calgary International Airport is going to face in keeping up with WestJet’s ramping up operations.

“The biggest worry we have is amenities because as WestJet peaks — which makes perfect sense from an efficiency and effectiveness perspective — we are seeing a disproportionate amount of business in smaller windows, and then we have gaps,” Sartor said.

He doesn’t expect airport operations like retail and restaurants to return to previous levels until next year, but did welcome the “aggressive posture” WestJet was taking.

“A successful restart and a safe restart of travel and tourism is essential for our economy,” Sartor said, identifying WestJet as the “primary catalyst” for bringing international tourists to Alberta.

According to the airline, WestJet added $1.74 billion to GDP in 2019. But even with that 11 years’ worth of growth expected by the end of 2021, WestJet will only return to 2013 levels of its business.

Weatherill said the place YYC has with the airline as a hub means the Calgary airport will see a faster return to pre-pandemic travel levels.

“I can say with certainty, absolutely it will because of our focus here in YYC,” Weatherill said.

“We maintained more service in Calgary than we did at any other major airport through the pandemic, and we will bring back service to Calgary faster than we bring back service to any other major city as we move on to the recovery phase of the pandemic.”

Sartor added that the historically high connections and close proximity to centres in the U.S. will serve as a competitive advantage for Calgary and its international airport.

Navigating the rest of the pandemic

But Avery stressed the need for confidence in safe air travel during what is hoped to be the latter parts of the pandemic.

That point was echoed by Deborah Yedlin, CEO of the Calgary Chamber.

“We keep hearing that we have to have a transition to this post-pandemic world that is consistent with other jurisdictions, so we can attract people to come and visit and to work,” Yedlin said.

“We cannot be seen to be offside with other jurisdictions because people are going to be concerned with safety and anecdotally I am hearing that there are organizations looking at the province, being concerned in terms of their workers and what their safety could be.”

Avery noted that small- and medium-sized enterprises are at the fore of travelling as more jurisdictions lift health restrictions and vaccines are taken up, calling it a catalyst for the early part of their growth.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said travel and tourism is one of seven industries targeted for growth in the city, noting that the other six sectors will support business travel.

The former university professor stressed the importance of the city and region’s de facto branding and its impact on travel decisions.

“I don’t mind telling you that our economic development work and our tourism work has gotten more difficult as a result of some of the short-term decisions that we’ve been making around the economy and that we’ve been making around COVID,” Nenshi said

He cited the consideration the Calgary Stampede board made this year in hosting the annual rodeo and exhibition with heavy COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

“Our biggest concern going into that was not for this year’s Stampede; it was for future years’ Stampede.”

Calgary Economic Development’s interim CEO Brad Parry said the ability of WestJet to connect the city to business, tourism and logistics around the world is an important part of the long-term economic vision that’s CED’s mandate.

“It really is a strategic long game, especially in the world that we live in,” Parry said. “It’s not something that we can pick up the phone and two days later we have a company, relocate or expand here.

“We have to take the time to nurture that relationship and prove to them that we can deliver on the promises that we’re making.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

WestJet to launch non-stop Calgary – Seattle service

New destination marks 12 non-stop options to U.S. from Calgary hub by November 2021  

CALGARY, AB, Aug. 4, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced new non-stop service between Calgary, AB and Seattle, WA. As the airline with the most flights from Calgary, the new non-stop service to Seattle will operate four-times weekly beginning November 4, 2021, on WestJet Encore’s Q400 aircraft and will increase to two-times daily on May 19, 2022.

“We are delighted to add Calgary-Seattle service to our network, providing our first non-stop service between these two incredible cities,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “Whether planning to visit the Emerald City to catch a favourite sports team, or to explore the Canadian Rockies, this route provides guests in Western Canada and across the Pacific Northwest with new convenient and affordable options to connect for business or leisure.  As we continue to strengthen our presence from our home hub in Calgary, we will continue to make investments that support the restoration of our transborder network.”

With Canada’s border restrictions easing on August 9, 2021, WestJet is continuing to build upon its network position as Western Canada’s largest air carrier with the introduction of new service between the two iconic cities.  

Guests will also benefit from the addition of Seattle to WestJet’s network with new convenient connections via Seattle’s Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to U.S. destinations. More details on connectivity options will be released at a later date.

Details of WestJet’s new service between Calgary and Seattle:

RouteFrequencyStart date
Calgary – Seattle4x weeklyNovember 4, 2021
6x weeklyDecember 20, 2021
1x dailyMarch 28, 2022
2x dailyMay 19, 2022
Seattle – Calgary4x weeklyNovember 4, 2021
6x weeklyDecember 20, 2021
1x dailyMarch 28, 2022
2x dailyMay 19, 2022

Additional quotes

“WestJet’s commitment to expanding trade links and leading the rebuild of the visitor economy in Alberta has never been stronger,” said Angela Avery, WestJet Executive Vice-President, External Affairs and Chief Legal Officer. “We have been listening to our partners and are thrilled to making the Pacific Northwest more connected to Canada via our global hub.  We look forward to expanded employment, trade and tourism links this investment will bring to life.”

“Despite the challenges of the past year, we are a gateway for business and leisure travel to our region with the addition of another brand-new carrier to SEA Airport,” said Lance Lyttle, SEA Airport Managing Director. “The region’s resiliency during one of the most challenging times in our industry continues to attract additional choices for visitors, business and residents of the region. Whether you’re traveling for business or taking a long-awaited trip to the beautiful Canadian Rockies, WestJet is a valuable addition to passenger choices.”

“Congratulations to WestJet on their new direct route from YYC to Seattle,” said Bob Sartor, President and CEO of The Calgary Airport Authority. “We look forward to introducing guests to this beautiful coastal city to enjoy great culture, cuisine and, of course, coffee as well as welcoming American guests from the Pacific Northwest region to YYC.”

“WestJet’s latest direct flight to Seattle is another sign of economic recovery for our tourism industry,” said Doug Schweitzer, Alberta Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation. “Bringing international travellers to Alberta is a key part of revitalizing our hospitality sector and getting people back to work.”

“WestJet’s first nonstop Seattle-Calgary passenger route will support the continued growth of business and leisure travel between our two great cities,” said Brandon A. Lee, Consul General of Canada, Seattle U.S. “The route will make it easier for Seattle business leaders to take advantage of the innovative and vibrant business ecosystem in Calgary; home to 118 corporate head offices, the world’s fourth lowest effective tax rate, while having easy access to the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountain national parks and ski resorts. This new route into WestJet’s Calgary hub enables visitors’ further destinations throughout Canada, making it easier to visit Calgary, Alberta and Canada at-large.”

“With this new route connecting Calgary and Seattle, WestJet is further supporting the recovery of Calgary and Alberta’s tourism economy,” says Cindy Ady, Tourism Calgary CEO. “New airline routes are critical to the recovery of our tourism industry. Convenient air access will result in more visitors to our city, thereby bolstering the economic impact of tourism, which directly contributes over $2.5 billion to Calgary’s economy each year.”

About WestJet 

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com

After being devastated by COVID-19, Alberta’s major airports have high hopes about the recovery

From CBC News – link to source story

An analysis of publicly available data shows the devastating impact of the pandemic

Nicholas Frew · CBC News · Posted: August 02, 2021

Pre-pandemic, the Edmonton and Calgary airports were operating at record or near-record capacity. It could take years before the airports get back to those levels again. (CBC)

Alberta’s two largest airports are seeing signs that they can prepare their recovery for takeoff in the wake of a worldwide pandemic that almost grounded the industry.

Airports have hemorrhaged money ever since restrictions to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus brought air travel to a near-halt in early 2020. 

“Any word less than ‘devastating’ is [inappropriate] for the impact on the aviation industry,” said Barry Prentice, University of Manitoba professor who researches transportation economics. 

“[Airports] are particularly hard-hit because literally all the revenues are associated with passenger movements and all the costs are essentially fixed.”

CBC News analyzed publicly available passenger data for the Calgary and Edmonton airports from 2014 to June 2021 — the most recent available — as well as airport revenue and net income reported in annual reports from fiscal 2014 through 2020.

The analysis shows how significantly the COVID-19 pandemic struck Alberta’s airports.

Before COVID-19

Pre-pandemic, the Edmonton and Calgary airports were operating at or near record capacity.

The Edmonton International Airport (EIA) reported well over 7.6 million terminal passengers in 2019, down slightly from a peak in 2018. The Calgary International Airport saw nearly 18 million passengers in 2019.

Calgary reported nearly $432 million in revenue that fiscal year and made significant gains on its net loss. Edmonton made about $231.7 million in revenue and posted its first net gain since at least 2014, according to annual reports.

About two-thirds of that revenue was generated by passengers through airport improvement fees, concessions and parking.

The airports were operating at similar levels through the first two months of 2020. But traffic dropped by about 40 per cent that March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the province launched its tough health restrictions in April and May, passenger traffic in both airports plunged to about five per cent of what it had been in January and February.

More and charts >> (re-directed to original story and will open new window/tab)

WestJet’s first non-stop flight from Calgary to Charlottetown takes off

YYC-YYG inaugural event ribbon cutting (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
YYC-YYG inaugural event ribbon cutting (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

CALGARY, AB, July 29, 2021 /CNW/ – Today, WestJet celebrated the launch of its new route between Calgary and Charlottetown with the departure and arrival of flight 630 and flight 631 between the communities. The new non-stop flights directly link Western Canada to Prince Edward Island for the first time and marks a positive sign for both region’s travel and tourism markets.

“The introduction of new service between Prince Edward Island and Calgary is an important milestone for WestJet, our guests and these communities,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “As vaccination rates across Canada continue to rise and restrictions ease, there’s no better way to demonstrate our commitment to Canada’s economic recovery than by seeing our investments take off as we continue to restore our network and reconnect Canadians from coast-to-coast.”

Upon flight 630’s arrival in Charlottetown, guests visiting from Calgary were greeted by Charlottetown Mayor Phillip Brown.

WestJet’s first non-stop flight from YYC to YYG is greeted with inaugural event upon landing in Charlottetown (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
WestJet’s first non-stop flight from YYC to YYG is greeted with inaugural event upon landing in Charlottetown (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

“The City of Charlottetown is thrilled about the announcement of the new direct flight from Calgary,” said Mayor Brown. “We are truly excited for this opportunity for more Canadians to experience everything our beautiful city has to offer. Thank you, WestJet, for your continued efforts to connect Canadians from coast to coast.”

“We are delighted to welcome WestJet’s new non-stop service from Calgary, connecting Western Canada with Prince Edward Island for the first time,” said Doug Newson, CEO, YYG Charlottetown Airport. “As Canadians start exploring our country once again, this service will provide a convenient option for Islanders now calling Alberta home and for new tourists wanting to explore our beautiful Island.”

WestJet’s new twice-weekly, non-stop service between Charlottetown and Calgary operates on Thursdays and Sunday. The service was previously set to begin in June 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic.

Since 2005, WestJet has been a key part of the fabric of Prince Edward Island’s visitor economy and remains committed to investing in the recovery of Atlantic Canada from the COVID-19 crisis. 

WestJet’s Charlottetown to Calgary service details

Route Peak FrequencyDepartureArrival
Calgary – Charlottetown2x weekly (Thursday/Saturday)9:30 a.m.5:05 p.m.
Charlottetown – Calgary2x weekly (Thursday/Saturday)5:50 p.m.8:08 p.m.
*All times are local

Additional quotes

“We thank our guests, the YYG Charlottetown Airport and other partners who stuck with WestJet throughout the pandemic,” said Angela Avery, WestJet Executive Vice-President, External Affairs and Chief Legal Officer. “We are glad to be flying twice-weekly and look forward to bringing tourists, business and products to and from Charlottetown to help drive economic recovery for the Island.”

First non-stop flight from Calgary to Charlottetown greeted by WestJetters at YYG (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
First non-stop flight from Calgary to Charlottetown greeted by WestJetters at YYG (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

“With this non-stop flight connecting Calgary and Prince Edward Island, WestJet continues to help showcase Calgary and all its experiences to Canadians,” says Cindy Ady, Tourism Calgary CEO. “The return of direct routes post-pandemic will help to support the recovery of the tourism industry and bolster the economic impact of tourism, which directly contributes over $2.5 billion to Calgary’s economy each year. We are very eager to once again welcome guests from P.E.I. to Calgary”

“Congratulations to WestJet on their restored route from Calgary to Charlottetown. This direct route will connect Canadians from both regions and offer more domestic destination options as many look forward to travelling again,” The Calgary Airport Authority.

About WestJet 

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.