WestJet accelerates Alberta’s recovery with 2022 summer schedule

Alberta set to lead Canada’s travel and tourism rebound as airline restores network to pre-pandemic levels

WestJet investing in Alberta’s connection to global and business economies with non-stop routes to London Heathrow, Gatwick, Rome, Paris and Dublin

CALGARY, AB, March 14, 2022 /CNW/ – WestJet today released its 2022 summer schedule, announcing the full restoration of the airline’s service levels across Alberta to pre-pandemic levels. WestJet’s summer schedule from Alberta will see 180 daily departures from Calgary and Edmonton to 35 domestic, 16 transborder and eight international destinations during peak travel months.

“The restoration of our network marks a major milestone in WestJet and Alberta’s recovery as we rebuild our network and strengthen critical connections to global hubs and business economies,” said John Weatherill, Chief Commercial Officer, WestJet. “After two years of unprecedented challenges, we’re proud that Alberta will lead the recovery of Canada’s travel and tourism industry. As Alberta’s homegrown airline, we continue to make investments to better serve our guests and look forward to offering more options for visitors to experience the vibrancy of what Alberta has to offer.”

Enhancing Alberta’s global travel and tourism pipeline

After a two-year delay, WestJet is set to launch its long-awaited service to Rome, Italy on May 7, 2022. The airline will also introduce new non-stop service to London Heathrow beginning on March 26, 2022.

WestJet’s investments in transatlantic flying from Calgary International Airport will see the airline increase the critical tourism pipeline between Alberta and Europe by 43 per cent when compared to 2019, supported by new routes and increased non-stop options to London Gatwick, Paris and Dublin.

“This is welcome news for travellers and for the entire travel industry as WestJet leads the way on economic recovery,” said Bob Sartor, President & CEO of The Calgary Airport Authority. “Travellers can count on YYC Calgary International Airport to scale up operations alongside WestJet to ensure travellers have safe, efficient access to destinations in Alberta and overseas.”

RoutePeak FrequencyStart Date
Calgary – London Heathrow4x weeklyMarch 26, 2022
Calgary – London Gatwick5x weeklyMay 1, 2022
Calgary – Paris5x weeklyMay 1, 2022
Calgary – Rome3x weeklyMay 7, 2022
Calgary – Dublin3x weeklyMay 8, 2022

Investing in regional and domestic air travel

This summer, Albertans will benefit from enhanced connectivity throughout the region and across Canada. At its peak, WestJet will serve 43 domestic, 23 transborder, 16 Caribbean and eight transatlantic destinations, restoring 94 per cent of its pre-pandemic routes with more than 600 daily departures network wide. Domestic highlights of WestJet’s summer schedule feature an 88 per cent increase in regional connectivity province wide. WestJet provides more than half of all seats across Alberta and together as the WestJet Group, WestJet and Swoop give Albertans more options, to more destinations than any other airline.

WestJet’s Alberta service:

  • Calgary: 142 daily departures, 35 domestic, 16 transborder and eight international destinations
  • Edmonton: 38 daily departures, 15 domestic and two transborder destinations
  • Grande Prairie: multiple daily flights to Calgary and Edmonton
  • Fort McMurray: multiple daily flights to Calgary and Edmonton
  • Lethbridge, Lloydminster, Medicine Hat: multiple daily flights to Calgary

Enhancing transborder connectivity

As part of its summer schedule, WestJet will launch previously delayed non-stop service between Calgary and Boston on June 30, 2022. The airline will also reintroduce and enhance service to 16 popular transborder business and leisure destinations.

RoutePeak FrequencyStart Date
Calgary – Nashville 3x weeklyMarch 17, 2022
Calgary – Denver2x weeklyMay 22, 2022
Calgary – Boston3x weeklyJune 30, 2022
Calgary – New York (JFK)4x weeklyAlready in service
Calgary – Portland2x dailyAlready in service
Calgary – Orlando3x weeklyAlready in service
Calgary – Phoenix2x dailyAlready in service
Calgary – Los Angeles2x dailyAlready in service
Calgary – San Diego4x weeklyAlready in service
Calgary – Palm Springs5x weeklyAlready in service
Calgary – San Francisco2x dailyAlready in service
Calgary – Orange County3x weeklyAlready in service
Calgary – Las Vegas3x dailyAlready in service
Calgary – Atlanta1x dailyAlready in service
Calgary – Houston2x dailyAlready in service
Calgary – Seattle2x dailyAlready in service
Edmonton – Los Angeles4x weeklyAlready in service
Edmonton – Las Vegas4x weeklyAlready in service

To discover all the direct flights across WestJet’s network, visit WestJet.com.

About the WestJet Group of Companies 
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 www.westjet.com.

Recent recognition includes: 
– 2020/2019 Number-One Ranked Canadian Airline Loyalty Program in Member Engagement (Bond Brand Loyalty)
– 2019/2018/2017 Best Airline in Canada (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines) 
– 2019 Winner Among Mid-Sized Airlines in North America (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines) 
– 2019/2018 Number-One-Ranked Airline Credit Card in Canada (Rewards Canada) 

Grande Prairie Airport CEO disappointed but optimistic following Flair service suspension

From EverythingGP – link to source story – Thanks CW

By Shaun Penner

Sep 8, 2021 | 7:15 AM

The CEO for the Grande Prairie Airport says while it is disappointing Flair Airlines chose to suspend its service out of YQU after just one month of service, things are still looking up at the airport.

Brian Grant says airport administration was notified roughly one week ago by the Edmonton-based airline that they would be suspending their service until next summer, cutting off direct flights between the Swan City and both Toronto and Vancouver .

“Originally (Flair) had approached us about serving here from August until the end of October and then they indicated to us, after some questions by us, that they were going to be suspending service early,” Grant stated.

Flair announced they were coming to Grande Prairie earlier this summer, with flights beginning in early August.

Now, the last flights for the year will be on Saturday, Sept. 11

“Certainly, we’re disappointed. We did know at the time it was going to be a trial service and it would be seasonal in the summer,” admits Grant.

He adds the company did cite a few reasons as to why they were pulling services back, not just in Grande Prairie but across their network.

“Flair has indicated to us that the purpose for this quick exit from the market is that they were having issues with crew (shortages) and especially issues with aircraft… So they indicated at this point, they plan to see us again in the spring,” said Grant.

“We’re hoping that is the case… The indications from the company itself, the load to and from both locations, Toronto and Vancouver, were good, so they just indicated they had to trim their schedule in order to meet the requirements for the reduced number of aircrafts.”

This follows another airline pulling its service from Grande Prairie, that being Central Mountain Air (CMA).

The regional airline announced in May they would be beginning to offer direct flights between Grande Prairie and Edmonton beginning in June, a gap in flight coverage prevalent during the pandemic.

However, Grant says CMA quickly pulled that flight from its network as another airline brought service between YQU and YEG.

“It was not too long after that, that WestJet announced they would be going back into the market in Edmonton as well, and so at that point Central Mountain Air made the decision that they would want to move their aircraft onto an unserved market.

Despite these suspensions, Grant says the airport has seen a steady uptick in passenger movement over the last few months, even more than expected at the beginning of 2021

“Just this past month, in August, we saw a passenger rate return of 50 per cent from what it was in the numbers for COVID,” said Grant. “We (moved) around 16 to 17 thousand passengers in the month of August,”

Grant says prior to the pandemic, the airport would typically see about 34 to 35 thousand passengers during an average month go through its gates.

“We’re back to about 50 percent,” Grant said. “Certainly our flight numbers, we now have seven a day, which we were down to three a day and sometimes none in a day during the heavy part of the pandemic, so it’s coming along, coming along quicker than some other airports around the country, and we’re happy with that.”

Grant says despite a fourth wave of COVID-19 hitting Grande Prairie and Alberta, passenger travel is still continuing to trend upwards.

He says while he is not expecting passenger numbers to be back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year, he is hopeful they can be back to within 70 to 75 per cent of what they were before March of 2020.

“We’re hoping that we’re still on an upward trend and that by the end of 2021, we will be showing a much stronger market place.”

Seven regional airports across the Prairies receiving more than $8 million to maintain regional connectivity and jobs

Targeted Government of Canada support will be provided by Prairies Economic Development Canada

EDMONTON, AB, Aug. 13, 2021 /CNW/ – Regional air transportation is crucial to local economic growth, the movement of goods and the connectivity of Canadians across the country. The pandemic has had major impacts on regional air transportation ecosystems, affecting communities and local businesses from coast to coast to coast.

Seven regional airports across the Prairies receiving more than $8 million to maintain regional connectivity and jobs (CNW Group/Prairies Economic Development Canada)

The Government of Canada’s Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI), launched in March 2021, fosters access to air transportation and supports regional ecosystems. In particular, it enables regional air carriers and airports to remain operational in these difficult times and to continue contributing to regional economic growth, while adapting to new post-COVID-19 realities and requirements.

Prairie airports to benefit from funding

With this in mind, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, announced up to $8,456,930 in RATI funding for seven regional airports in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. This funding will enable these airports to overcome challenges that were brought on by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional air transportation is key to the economic development of communities and businesses across Canada. Since it helps draw Canadians to rural and remote communities to work and raise their families, while also providing reliable connectivity with urban centres, it plays a crucial role in a just, inclusive recovery for all, throughout the country.


“It is important to protect our regional air transportation ecosystems for the thousands of workers employed by this sector and for the many businesses and communities that depend on it. We know that air connectivity to all regions is essential to healthy, inclusive economic growth, and supporting it is part of our plan to build back a stronger, more resilient economy.” 
     – The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada

“Regional airports and infrastructure are important to residents and businesses across the Prairies. They play a critical role for the economy as people depend on them for both personal and business travel and to access services in larger centres. This funding will go a long way to getting these assets back on their feet as Canada begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and we reopen our economy.” 
     – Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency)

Projects being funded:

City of LloydminsterLloydminster, ABup to $   348,000
Grande Prairie Airport CommissionGrande Prairie, ABup to $1,415,200
Regina Airport AuthorityRegina, SKup to $2,464,000
Saskatoon Airport AuthoritySaskatoon, SKup to $2,664,000
City of BrandonBrandon, MBup to $   455,750
City of Flin FlonFlin Flon, MBup to $   527,160
Thompson Regional Airport AuthorityThompson, MBup to $   582,820
Total Funding                                                          up to $8,456,930

Quick facts

  • RATI, administered by the regional development agencies (RDAs), has a national budget of $206 million.
  • The Initiative supports regional air ecosystems—which include regional air carriers and airports, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profit organizations—in developing and implementing enhanced services for improved regional connectivity.
  • RATI complements measures implemented by Transport Canada.

Associated links

Flair Airlines Brings Low Fare Air Travel to 4th Destination in Alberta

The rapidly growing airline continues expansion while aiding economic recovery with low fare travel options for the Grande Prairie community

Edmonton, Alberta, August 2, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its rapid growth as service begins today at Grande Prairie Airport (IATA: YQU). Grande Prairie is the fourth Alberta city to benefit from Flair’s low fares. Flair Airlines is providing non-stop flights between Grande Prairie, Vancouver, and Toronto with fares available for less than $60 one-way.

“As travel and tourism comes roaring back across Canada, bringing our low-fare travel options to Grande Prairie becomes crucial.  We will deliver more choice and more competition for air travel. Our offering of low-fare travel is a powerful tool in economic recovery as it ensures everyone can afford to go places, reconnect with family, and explore the country” says Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Flair Airlines. “Residents of Grande Prairie and the Peace Region have been paying way too much, for way too long, and Flair is here to provide affordable options to Toronto and Vancouver.”

“The Grande Prairie Airport is focused on our mission of efficiency and affordability for air travel in our region. Flair brings a whole new meaning to affordability and the addition of direct service to these major centers provides travelers in the Peace Region with unprecedented air travel options,” says Brian Grant, CEO, Grande Prairie Airport.

Grand Prairie is among three new destinations Flair is adding to its network in August along with Abbotsford and Charlottetown. Flair serves 20 Canadian cities and continues to grow with the addition of service to 5 US cities this fall. With an ambitious goal to grow to 50 aircraft in 5 years, Flair is rapidly expanding as it brings ULCC service to Canadians.

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 20 cities across Canada. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com 

Flair Airlines Celebrates 20th Destination, Announcing Service to Grande Prairie, Alberta With Flights Available for Less Than $40

The fast-growing ULCC is adding non-stop service to the Northern Alberta community from Toronto and Vancouver with flights starting at just $39

Edmonton, Alberta, June 16, 2021 – Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), continues its growth with the addition of service to Grande Prairie, Alberta. Flights will begin in August and for less than the cost of a meal for two people, customers can access non-stop service to Toronto and Vancouver.

“Canadians are tired of being gouged for air travel and Flair is excited to bring our low fares to a fourth Alberta market,” says Garth Lund, Chief Commercial Officer. Flair continues to deliver tremendous value to underserved communities where restoring affordable regional travel will help reignite the Canadian economy.”

Service to Grande Prairie (IATA: YQU) will be twice a week for both non-stop routes. Vancouver flights will begin August 1 with evening flights on Wednesdays and Sundays. Toronto flights will begin August 4 with afternoon flights on Wednesday and Saturdays.

Grande Prairie is the 20th destination served by Flair Airlines as it grows rapidly to meet the demand for low fare travel across Canada. Flair’s fleet of aircraft is growing with the addition of 13 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft joining its existing fleet of 737-800.

Examples of one-way base fares currently available are listed below. All base fares include taxes and fees, and there are limited seats and limited availability.

  • Grande Prairie (YQU) to Vancouver (YVR): $39 one way, inc. taxes and fees. Travel on August 4.
  • Vancouver (YVR) to Grande Prairie (YQU): $39 one way, inc. taxes and fees. Travel on August 4.
  • Grande Prairie (YQU) to Toronto (YYZ): $49 one way, inc. taxes and fees. Travel on August 7.
  • Toronto (YYZ) to Grande Prairie (YQU): $49 one way, inc. taxes and fees. Travel on August 7.

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 19 cities across Canada. For more information, please visit www.flyflair.com