WestJet enhances intra-B.C. connectivity with new service between Penticton and Vancouver

CALGARY, AB, Aug. 8, 2022 /CNW/ – WestJet today is welcoming the airline’s newest regional route with the announcement of service between Penticton, B.C., and Vancouver beginning in February of 2023. The route will strengthen critical intra-provincial connectivity for British Columbians and local businesses and is scheduled to operate six-times weekly on WestJet Link.

“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,” said Jared Mikoch-Gerke, WestJet Director of Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs. “This new route marks the initial steps in our renewed committment to B.C., and will open up connections and opportunities for local businesses and residents as they recover from the difficult past few years.”

“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,” said The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport. “Our government operates the Penticton Airport to provide safe and reliable service for the Okanagan communities and today’s announcement will do just that.”

The new service will stimulate business and leisure travel between the cities with flights on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays and makes WestJet the only airline serving both Calgary and Vancouver direct from Penticton.  Through the airline’s capacity purchase agreement with Pacific Coastal Airline, all flights will be operated by WestJet Link, using a fleet of WestJet-branded 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft. 

“The expansion of WestJet service is another example of the growth that Penticton is experiencing,” said Mayor John Vassilaki. “As more and more people recognize 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.”

The expansion of service is the 11th destination within the WestJet Link network and will connect more guests in smaller communities to WestJet’s global network.

RouteStart DateFrequencyOperated byDepartureArrival
Vancouver – Penticton*Beginning February 17, 20236x Weekly (excluding Saturday)WestJet Link12:45 p.m.1:35 p.m.
Penticton – Vancouver*Beginning February 17, 20236x Weekly (excluding Saturday)WestJet Link2:05 p.m.2:55 p.m.

*new route

Additional Quotes

“We are excited to see WestJet Link’s service continue to grow throughout the province and provide service to the southern Okanagan Valley. As the proud operators of WestJet Link, the expansion of this service is essential in providing additional connections for local businesses and British Columbians.”

–      Quentin Smith, Pacific Coastal Airlines President.

“This is great news for the entire Southern Okanagan region.  Not only does this open up easier access to people traveling from the lower mainland to enjoy the bounty of the Southern Okanagan, but it also adds greater flexibility for those who travel to Vancouver for business and pleasure.”

–      Jonathan McGraw, President of the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce.

“We are thrilled that WestJet is providing new opportunities for British Columbians to explore our beautiful province with the addition of this new exciting route,” said Walt Judas, CEO of TIABC. “The addition of YVR to YYF is a further enhancement to both leisure and business travel across our province and brings an exciting avenue for tourists from WestJet’s global network to connect to the beautiful Okanagan region from Vancouver.”

–      Walt Judas, CEO, TIABC

“We are very pleased for Penticton and area residents with this new service announcement from WestJet and partner, Pacific Coastal Airlines. Their new service announcement regarding Penticton to Vancouver, six-times weekly starting February 2023 continues to strengthen the relationship between WestJet and Penticton Airport along with the residents of the South Okanagan/Similkameen and its business community. We welcome the expanded service and look forward to the convenience this service brings.”

–     MLA Dan Ashton, Penticton 

“Connecting more people with more regions of BC through convenient and affordable air travel options is critical. This new service between Vancouver International Airport and Penticton will connect more British Columbians and visitors with the tremendous offerings of BC’s Southern Interior region. We applaud WestJet for strengthening their commitment to British Columbia—expanding air travel options in the province, in partnership with WestJet Link service operator Pacific Coastal Airlines” 

–    Mike McNaney, Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer, Vancouver International Airport

About WestJet  

In 26 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.  

WestJet brings back the heat this Winter

Airline to return 17 sun and leisure routes suspended during pandemic to destinations across the Caribbean, Mexico and U.S.

CALGARY, AB, Aug. 8, 2022 /CNW/ – WestJet today celebrated the return of 17 sun routes to its network this winter. The returning routes which were suspended for more than two years, bring enhanced connectivity and vacation options for Canadians and communities across the airline’s network.

“The restart of these routes is another positive step in the restoration our network as we solidify WestJet as the reliable, friendly and affordable airline we are known to be,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer. “We recognize 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 airline today also announced new six-times weekly regional service between Penticton, B.C., and Vancouver beginning on February 17, 2023 on WestJet Link along with the restart of domestic connectivity between Edmonton and Nanaimo, B.C.

Highlights from WestJet’s winter schedule release:

Sun and Leisure, Transborder and Transatlantic:

  • Restart of 17 sun and leisure routes suspended since 2019
  • 45 per cent increase to sun and leisure flights from winter 2021
  • 60 per cent increase in transborder flights from winter 2021
  • 25 per cent increase in transatlantic flights from winter 2021

WestJet’s investments in sun, transborder and leisure flying are growing across the country with:

  • A 50% increase in flights from Central/Eastern Canada from winter 2021
  • A 55% increase in flights from Western Canada from winter 2021

Network-wide:

  • 65 per cent increase in flights to/from Winnipeg (YWG) from winter 2021
  • 50 per cent increase in flights to/from Edmonton (YEG) from winter 2021
  • 35 per cent increase in flights to/from Vancouver (YVR) from winter 2021
  • 30 per cent increase in flights to/from Calgary (YYC) from winter 2021
  • 10 per cent increase in flights to/from Toronto (YYZ) from winter 2021

Domestic:

  • New domestic connection between Vancouver and Penticton, B.C., on WestJet Link
  • Restart of Edmonton-Nanaimo route suspended since 2019
  • 25 per cent overall increase in flights network-wide domestically from winter 2021

Transborder Restarts:

RouteRestart DatePeak FrequencyOperated By
Kelowna – PhoenixNovember 16, 20221x WeeklyWestJet
Saskatoon – Las VegasNovember 10, 20222x WeeklyWestJet
Saskatoon – Orlando*December 16, 20221x WeeklyWestJet
Regina – Las VegasNovember 10, 20222x WeeklyWestJet
Regina – OrlandoDecember 16, 20221x WeeklyWestJet
Vancouver – OrlandoNovember 12, 20221x WeeklyWestJet
Winnipeg – PhoenixOctober 31, 20222x WeeklyWestJet
St. John’s – Tampa BayMarch 19, 20231x WeeklyWestJet
*Operated on very limited basis in 2021

Carribean, Mexico, Central American Restarts:

RouteRestart DatePeak FrequencyOperated By
Calgary – Belize CityNovember 18, 20221x WeeklyWestJet
Calgary – NassauNovember 26, 20221x weeklyWestJet
Calgary – VaraderoNovember 5, 20221x WeeklyWestJet
Comox – Puerto VallartaNovember 5, 20221x WeeklyWestJet
Ottawa – Montego BayNovember 12, 20222x WeeklyWestJet
Regina – Cancun*November 13, 20222x WeeklyWestJet
Toronto – Cayo CocoNovember 5, 20221x WeeklyWestJet
Toronto – SamanaDecember 17, 20221x WeeklyWestJet
Winnipeg – Montego BayDecember 17, 20221x WeeklyWestJet
*Operated on very limited basis in 2021

Domestic Routes:

RouteStart DateFrequencyOperated by
Vancouver – Penticton*February 17, 20236x WeeklyWestJet Link
Edmonton – NanaimoOctober 30, 20223x WeeklyWestJet Encore
*new route

About WestJet  

In 26 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.  

An update on WestJet’s operations at midway point of summer travel season

August 4, 2022 – Operational Update

Airline led major Canadian air carriers in completion through July  

At the midway point of peak summer travel, WestJet continues to strive to deliver a reliable schedule within a challenging operating environment, as Canadians and international guests return to the skies. As per flight statistics provided by Cirium, from July 1 to 31, WestJet led amongst major Canadian air carriers, completing 97.5 per cent of all scheduled flights across the month, with 82 per cent of all scheduled and operated flights arriving within 45 minutes of scheduled arrival time.

“Our latest performance reflects the responsible and proactive approach our teams took to stabilize our operations in the face of a myriad of hurdles including industry-wide staffing challenges, legacy pandemic health policies, spiking fuel prices, supply-chain issues and inflation,” said Diederik Pen, WestJet Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. “Our number one priority is ensuring our guests arrive safely to their destination, as on-time as the current aviation landscape allows for.”

WestJet’s July 2022 performance

CF (Completion factor – percentage of scheduled flights that are completed)97.5%*
A15 (Arrivals within 15 minutes of scheduled time)57.9%**

*/** Significant operational impact on July 14 and 15th due to Western Canadian train derailment which led to network-wide IT outage

** Arrivals and departures remain impacted by ongoing challenges outside of WestJet’s control including third-party staffing shortages, airport construction, CATSA and CBSA processing and staffing 

WestJet’s August long-weekend operational performance – July 29 – August 1, 2022

CF (Completion factor)97.7%*
A15 (Arrivals within 15 minutes of scheduled time)60.3%

 *Significant weather event (thunderstorm) impacted Calgary operations on Friday, July 29th 

As announced in June, the airline meticulously planned operations and responsibly reduced its schedule to support peak summer travel which resulted in operating 21 per cent less capacity, in comparison to July 2019. This proactive approach has not been without guest impact but has enabled the airline to significantly prevent reactive cancellations across the network which in return has reduced impacts to guests and crew.  

“We recognize the travel environment remains challenging and sincerely apologize to our guests for any disruption we’ve caused to their long-awaited travel plans,” continued Pen. “We will continue to be transparent as we strive for improvement, reliability and on-time performance and appreciate their continued patience and understanding. My sincere thank you to our guests for their continued patience and understanding and our WestJetters for their dedication as we work together in recovery.”

For the duration of WestJet’s summer operations, transparent weekly operational updates will be posted on this page every Tuesday retroactive for seven days.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Has WestJet recalled all crew including pilots and cabin crew? Why are there cancellations related to crew?

While WestJet is not immune to the challenges currently facing the industry, we have worked to balance flying in line with sufficient staffing levels to support operational needs. All WestJet flight crew have been recalled and the airline continues to balance stable growth in line with industry. Despite our best efforts at times, flights have been cancelled for crew availability or for crew safety. 

Cancellations for crew can attributed to a myriad of reasons as the Canadian transportation regulations permit crew to work a certain number of hours in a duty-day. Compounding delays and disruptions as a result of the current Canadian operating environment can result in duty-day expiration and downline flight cancellations for safety.  

Where does WestJet stand in terms of delayed or missing baggage?

Recognizing the current travel ecosystem, we understand there have been impacts on our guests across the travel journey, including baggage delays and we thank our guests for their continued patience and understanding. We are committed to doing everything we can to deliver the WestJet experience our guests expect from us and we are making every effort to connect impacted guests with their missing bags. We continue to work alongside our third-party service providers to alleviate baggage delays and have invested in additional WestJet oversight to support our partners responsible for actioning and delivering our baggage services in a timely manner. More information on our policies and compensation for lost bags is available online here: https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/baggage/lost-delayed-damaged

WestJet announces domestic winter service suspensions as airline transitions strategic direction

By WestJet | July 18, 2022

Winter service to Charlottetown, Fredericton, Sydney and Quebec City to be suspended as of November 15, 2022

As WestJet begins to strategically transition flying in Eastern Canada to focus on sun and leisure destinations as well as enhanced connections to Western Canada, the airline has announced the suspension of winter service to four communities in Eastern and Atlantic Canada. Effective November 15, 2022, service will be suspended to, Fredericton, N.B., Sydney, N.S., Charlottetown, P.E.I., and Quebec City, QC. Service between now and November 15, 2022, will NOT be affected.

Any guests with impacted travel will be notified beginning on July 18, 2022, either directly or through their travel agent. WestJet will strive to rebook guests with alternative travel arrangements, or guests will be eligible for a refund to original form of payment. More details are available here: https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/contact/alternate-travel-arrangements.

“We understand this is disappointing news and we apologize for any disruption this will cause our guests and communities,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “We are undertaking these strategic changes in a responsible manner and it was critical to give our guests and the communities as much advance notice as possible.”

WestJet recently announced how a growing, stronger, sustainable WestJet will benefit Canadians, following a strategic review to determine the best course for the airline’s sustained future success. This August, WestJet will release the airline’s full winter 2022/2023 schedule that will see significant sun and leisure flying investments for Eastern Canada along with capacity enhancements nationwide.   

“As a national airline, we will continue to engage with these communities and stakeholders as we look to enhance service to Eastern and Atlantic Canada through direct connections to Western Canada, sun and leisure destinations,” continued Weatherill. “By making these difficult decisions now, it will ensure we can offer more of what our guests expect from WestJet and solidify our airline as the most reliable and affordable airline for many years to come.”

Impacted routes:

Route Peak FrequencyServiceSuspension Date
Fredericton – Toronto  13x weeklyWestJet EncoreNovember 15, 2022
Sydney – Halifax 7x weekly WestJet EncoreNovember 15, 2022
Charlottetown – Toronto 3x weeklyWestJetNovember 15, 2022
Quebec City – Toronto  21x weeklyWestJet Encore November 15, 2022

Major victory for WestJet workers at Toronto Pearson International Airport

TORONTO, Aug. 3, 2022 /CNW/ – WestJet workers at Pearson International Airport have won a major victory in their right to representation as the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) certifies Unifor as their sole bargaining agent.

“WestJet workers in Toronto have gained a voice in their workplace, joining with workers in Vancouver and Calgary as members of Unifor. These employees have tremendous experience to offer their employer as airlines face an increase in travel demand from pre-pandemic travel demand,” said Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Lana Payne.

“It is imperative that workers have a strong voice in future decisions at WestJet to ensure fairness and job protection with the airline.”

Unifor applied with the Canada Industrial Relations Board on July 11, 2022, to certify Unifor as the union for 374 WestJet workers at Toronto Pearson International Airport. On July 29, 2022, the CIRB certified Unifor as the sole bargaining agent after declaring that a majority of the workers signed membership cards.

“This is an important step in creating more stability, predictability and protection. I’m happy that collectively we have found our voice as we move toward fairness with fair treatment for ourselves, our co-workers and our families,” said Michelle Lindo-Collins, WestJet Customer Service Agent.

As airline travel rebounded post-pandemic, workers in Toronto have often faced increased pressures as frontline representatives with the public when plans did not go as expected due to flight delays, cancellations and long wait times at the airport.

“Our collective efforts to sustain the day-to-day operation and hold onto what WestJet represents have weighed on us all through these difficult times. Along with Unifor, we hope to build on the momentum to see change here in Toronto. We look forward to growing WestJet and positively impacting our guests throughout their travel plans,” said Keaton Cole, WestJet Customer Service Agent.

“I’m happy to join my co-workers in Calgary and Vancouver as members of Unifor. United together, we look forward to growing WestJet while providing good jobs and benefits to employees who provide exceptional daily service,” shared Wesley Watson a Customer Service Agent in the baggage department.

Unifor represents 7,500 airport agents at other airlines, including Air Canada, Jazz, Porter, First Air, Calm Air and more. In all, Unifor represents more than 16,000 workers across the airline industry.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.