Airline continues to focus on significant safety and hygiene enhancements to ensure a safe travel journey
CALGARY, AB, June 15, 2020 /CNW/ – WestJet today released its updated July schedule, developed to allow Canadians the pleasure of summer travel while economically supporting communities across the country in safely reopening travel and domestic tourism. In addition, the airline has added flights to select U.S. markets.
To ensure guests can book with confidence, the airline maintains its stringent Safety Above All hygiene program and continues to provide flexibility in booking, change and cancellation policies.
“Today’s schedule reflects our commitment to orderly and safe travel while providing steps to allow Canadians to get out, explore, and take part in critical economic activities like staying in hotels, eating out, visiting tourist attractions or simply just travelling to see friends and family,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “Governments and Canadians from coast-to-coast are working together to lessen the impact of this pandemic and we are grateful that these efforts have put us in a position to add more options for travel this July.”
From July 5 through August 4, 2020, WestJet will offer operations to 45 destinations including 39 in Canada, five in the U.S. and one in Mexico an increase of approximately 102 per cent more flights from June, but down 76 per cent from July 2019.
Continued von zur Muehlen, “As we emerge from the pandemic, health vigilance must be balanced with the gradual reopening of our economy. WestJet has done our part and spent millions of dollars to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests and our people. We’re ready to get Canadians flying.”
On March 22, WestJet suspended its international and transborder operations. The airline’s schedule now contains flights to key transborder and international destinations including Los Angeles (LAX), Atlanta (ATL) and Las Vegas (LAS).
“Jurisdictions around the world are opening, allowing citizens to begin flying once again which is kickstarting their economies for recovery. We’ve heard from the communities we serve and look forward to having Canadians safely participate and stimulate domestic tourism this summer,” stated von zur Muehlen.
At this time, the airline is planning on operating the following domestic routes and frequencies from July 5 – August 4.
Mass Fly-Over – Mon 18 May meeting at 6 pm at Abbotsford Airport – expected to be in the air around 6:30 pm
The Canadian Snowbirds are the truest form of Canadian Pride. Yesterday they suffered an unimaginable loss during their mission Operation Inspiration Torch and lost a team member in a tragic accident. As an aviation community and Canadian family let’s pick up where the Snowbirds left off in honour of Captain Jenn Casey in their mission to fly over Canada to lift the spirits of Canadians.
The BC General Aviation Association would like to honour the Canadian Snowbirds, Essential Workers and the Canadian Forces as we pick up the torch in a show of solidarity as aviators and as Canadians. 35 Airplanes will depart Abbotsford and fly accross the Lower Mainland to pay tribute. These aircraft will not be in any tight formation as we leave that kind of flying to the professionals. Once the first aircraft passes there will be a line of aircraft that will last approximately 14 minutes. Please join us in observing a moment of silence as the group flies over.
Pilots: The designated pilots have been contacted and are briefed. Please do not join unless you have received the briefing. Safety is paramount and if there is any doubt to the safety of this flight it will be cancelled.
Captain Casey was killed when the plane went down, and the pilot, Captain Richard MacDougall, was seriously hurt.
NETWORK AND SCHEDULE CHANGES – WestJet announces schedule updates through May 4 and select seasonal route start dates
On Thursday, March 26 WestJet marked the last day of our planned transborder (U.S.) and international (Europe, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean) flying due to the COVID-19 crisis and the closing of international borders.
This is a difficult time as we temporarily say goodbye to these airports that have helped WestJet grow beyond our domestic borders and brought the pleasure and ease of worldwide travel to millions of Canadians.
We thank all of our airport partners, our contractors and our guests for their support and we look forward to resuming flights when we emerge from these turbulent times.
INTERNATIONAL AND TRANSBORDER
As the crisis continues, we have now updated our international and transborder schedule to temporarily remove flying through May 4, 2020. For our guests who have booked their travel after April 22 through May 4, we are proactively notifying you of your travel options.
Seasonal international route starts dates have been updated as follows:
Toronto – Barcelona starts June 5, 2020
Calgary – Rome starts June 4, 2020
Halifax – Manchester has been cancelled for summer 2020. WestJet will be reaccomodating guests on Halifax – London (Gatwick)
Our domestic schedule has also now been updated through May 4. Details remain the same as communicated earlier this week (see schedule below) with the exception of Grande Prairie. Due to newly reduced airport operating hours, we have reduced the daily Calgary – Grand Prairie schedule by two flights. WestJet will continue to fly once daily. In addition, Edmonton – Grande Prairie has been suspended until further notice.
Select seasonal domestic routes will start July 3, 2020 including:
Calgary – Whitehorse
Calgary – Dawson Creek
Calgary – Windsor
Toronto – Deer Lake
Halifax – Gander
For our guests who have booked their travel prior to July 3, we are proactively notifying you of your travel options.
We understand the uncertainty our guests, WestJetters and partners face, and we thank them for their continued patience.
Flair Airlines Ltd. is pulling out of the airport in Abbotsford, B.C., due to a lack of passengers and intense competition from rival budget carrier Swoop.
Flair CEO Jim Scott cites an intense focus on the Abbotsford-Edmonton route by its competitor, a subsidiary of WestJet Airlines Ltd., that has resulted in a glut of cheap tickets.
“We just can’t compete with $3 airfares in the market — and not just a few of them, but tens of thousands of tickets,” Scott said.
“Either we’re going to be confined to very few routes or the government’s got to step in and show that anti-dumping and predatory pricing has meaning in Canada,” he said in a phone interview.
Flair operates 12 flights between the two cities each week, but plans to stop in June. Swoop, Flair’s only competitor along the route, operates 16 flights per week in winter and 24 flights per week in summer.
Flair said no passengers will face cancellations as a result of the Abbotsford pullout, which will also end flights between the Lower Mainland city and Kelowna, B.C., Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto.
Swoop unveiled a so-called loonie sale last month, offering up to 100,000 seats for a base fare of $1 before taxes and fees. The sale disproportionately targets Edmonton-to-Abbotsford, which Swoop points out is its highest-frequency route.
More than one-quarter of the seats under the loonie deal are on the route.
Swoop did not immediately respond to questions Wednesday.
Last year Flair opted to leave Hamilton for Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, just months after Swoop landed at the smaller airport.
In 2018, the Competition Bureau launched an ongoing predatory pricing investigation into Swoop and WestJet over allegations the two carriers used anti-competitive practices to crowd out Flair from at least three routes.
Predatory pricing occurs when a company offers services below “avoidable costs” to hobble a competitor, along with an expectation to recoup losses through future price hikes, according to Competition Bureau guidelines.
Edmonton-based Flair plans to use its two freshly freed-up planes to add new flights to Ottawa, Saint John, N.B., Charlottetown and Halifax.
Calgary’s hometown airline continues to invest in convenient and unique travel options
CALGARY, Feb. 7, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, WestJet announced its summer schedule featuring more than 90 new flights from Calgary including new non-stop WestJet Link service to Dawson Creek, B.C.
“WestJet is focused on investing in Alberta to build and strengthen our Calgary hub,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “As WestJet continues on its strategic path of becoming a global network airline, we are pleased to offer our guests the ability to conveniently connect for business or pleasure across Canada, Europe and beyond this summer.”
With today’s announcement of the new service between Calgary and Dawson Creek, B.C., WestJet Link will operate five routes including between Calgary and Cranbrook, Lethbridge, Lloydminster and Medicine Hat and one between Cranbrook and Vancouver this summer. WestJet Link operations between Calgary and Prince George, B.C., will shift to year-round service on WestJet Encore’s 78-seat Q400 aircraft effective April 26.
In addition, beginning May 14, 2020 WestJet will begin new service between Calgary and Boston. WestJet is offering guests convenient flight times between its extensive hub out of Calgary and the capital of Massachusetts.
The schedule also highlights frequency increases from Calgary to popular destinations including Portland, Ore., Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox, Grand Prairie, Fort McMurray, Brandon, Winnipeg, Abbotsford and Yellowknife.
“WestJet continues to invest in YYC Calgary International Airport as its home base and expansion focus. It is Calgary’s largest carrier and we are committed to facilitating their growth. These additional flights will serve more guests bound for more destinations, delivering recreational and business opportunities for our region,” said Bob Sartor, President and CEO, The Calgary Airport Authority.
Highlights of WestJet’s 2020 summer schedule include: Domestic:
Calgary-Dawson Creek, B.C., new daily WestJet Link service begins April 26, 2020
Calgary-Winnipeg, an increase of seven weekly flights
Calgary-Victoria, an increase of seven weekly flights
Calgary-Nanaimo, an increase of seven weekly flights
Calgary-Grand Prairie, an increase of seven weekly flights
Calgary-Abbotsford, an increase of five weekly flights
Calgary-Fort McMurray, an increase of five weekly flights
Calgary-Comox, an increase of four weekly flights
Calgary-Brandon, from seven times weekly to 11 times weekly
Calgary-Yellowknife, from twelve times weekly to 14 times weekly
Calgary-Charlottetown, new four-times weekly seasonal service begins June 25, 2020
Calgary-Portland, from once daily to twice daily for a total of 14 weekly flights
Calgary-Boston, new daily seasonal service begins May 14, 2020
Calgary-Paris, from four-times weekly to six-times weekly
Calgary-Rome, new three-times weekly service begins May 2, 2020
Calgary-Cabo San Lucas, from twice-weekly to three-times weekly
The airline has added more than 300 Dreamliner departures out of Calgary in 2020, an increase of more than 52 per cent over 2019, to key transatlantic Dreamliner routes. The flights are uniquely and conveniently timed in the interest of Albertans and western Canadians with late-day departures and daytime arrivals to suit guests travelling to Europe.
Dawson Creek is WestJet’s 72nd destination out of Calgary, WestJet’s home and largest hub. By June 2020, the airline will operate more than 1000 flights per week in peak season out of Calgary International Airport. More Calgarians choose WestJet for their air travel than any other airline.
Low-cost carrier takes on Swoop in battle for best deals
ZEBA KHAN – February 5, 2020
Flair Airlines is offering a three-month unlimited travel pass as competition in the discount air space heats up.
Flair’s Go Travel Pass, which runs from Feb. 13 to May 13, offers two options. The basic pass for $499 allows unlimited travel for three months with Fridays and Sundays excluded and some blackout days. The unlimited pass offers unlimited travel for all days of the week at $699 with no blackout dates.
The airline travels to Vancouver, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto. It does not fly to Quebec.
“We are thrilled to offer our passengers the freedom and flexibility to travel with our unlimited pass. Whether you are a student who needs to visit home, a small business owner on a budget, a family needing to connect or an adventure seeker looking for your next thrill; all Canadians deserve to travel without hesitation,” Sarah Riches, director of commercial for Flair Airlines said in a press release Wednesday.
Flair is one of only two ultra-low cost airlines in Canada. WestJet affiliate Swoop Airlines is the second.
And competition has been fierce. Earlier this month Swoop held a loonie seat sale where the base cost for a seat was only a dollar before taxes, fees and extras.
Last year the Competition Bureau launched an investigation into Swoop over allegations that “predatory pricing” was used to try to crowd Flair out of some routes.
Flair last year sold a stake of its company to a U.S. private investment firm in a bid to boost its fleet to compete against its rival.
Airlines can get permission to fly if ‘very strict conditions’ met
Ashley Burke · CBC News · Posted: Feb 03, 2020
Canada has allowed at least 160 flights to criss-cross North America using Boeing 737 Max jets since grounding the fleet for commercial use almost a year ago.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau banned the planes from Canada’s airspace in March after two crashes within five months in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people, including 18 Canadians. Satellite data showed both planes experienced significant flight control problems. Garneau said he won’t lift restrictions on the planes until all of Canada’s safety concerns have been addressed.
CBC News analyzed flight data that shows Canadian airlines have continued to fly the jets for the past 11 months, often multiple times a week. The flights include four hours in the air over Canada from Windsor to Vancouver and shorter hauls such as Montreal to Trois-Rivières, Que., and Abbotsford, B.C., to Calgary.
Transport Canada said no passengers were on board any of the flights. The department said it has been allowing Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing to fly the planes for maintenance, storage, or pilot training under certain conditions. Only certain pilots with specialized training and briefings of the 737 Max are allowed to operate the aircraft.
The flights came as a shock to some families in Canada whose loved ones died on a 737 Max.
“It feels like a slap in the face,” said Chris Moore who lost his 24-year-old daughter in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. “Your loved one has died due to that plane and they’re still gearing up for the day when it’s ungrounded.”
Paul Njoroge lost his wife, three young children, and mother-in-law in that same crash. He’s also concerned for the safety of the pilots in the air and Canadians on the ground.
“It’s shocking to me that they are still flying,” said Njoroge. “It just tells me that these people will never stop playing or juggling with human life.”
“You cannot say it’s not safe for passengers, but still allow the plane to fly. If you’ve grounded the plane, it has to remain grounded.”
‘Ferry flights’ exempted
When Garneau banned the jets on March 13, the notice to airmen stated it was “necessary for the protection of aviation safety and the public.” But the notice also made exemptions for “ferry flights” that take off or land in Canada.
CBC News pulled data from flight tracking website FlightRadar24 to see where Canadian 737 Max planes have been spotted in the skies since grounded.
An analysis reveals that Air Canada has been flying its Boeing 737 Max fleet the most often. Between March 14 and Jan. 16, Air Canada flew 121 times, in comparison to 29 times for WestJet and 12 for Sunwing.
In at least 27 instances, Air Canada took off or landed in Marana, Ariz. In some cases, flying more than five hours straight.
“Those aircraft movements were required for maintenance purposes, including to relocate them to the southern desert where they can be stored more safely,” said Air Canada in a statement to CBC News.
Air Canada also said it’s using the ferry flights as an opportunity to keep pilot certifications current for those who train frontline pilots.
Flight data shows 160 Boeing 737 Max flights
20 hours ago
737 Max aircraft flew across Canada and the U.S. 0:18
WestJet said its ferry flights were for maintenance and storage space. Sunwing said it proactively grounded its fleet before Canada made it mandatory. Since then, the airline confirmed it moved several 737 Max aircraft from large, busy airports to outside storage facilities.
“We approach these necessary transfers with an abundance of caution, conducting thorough risk assessments and only using senior pilots who were briefed on responses to any potential anomalies. All these flights operated without incident,” said Sunwing in a statement.
Flights must be approved, follow ‘very strict conditions’
Transport Canada said in order for ferry flights to be approved, airlines must follow “very strict conditions”:
Only advanced pilot evaluators are allowed to fly.
Pilots must get specialized briefings and training including on a 737 Max simulator.
Additional crew is on board all flights and a mandatory third pilot.
They can only fly in certain weather conditions.
Larry Vance, former Transportation Safety Board aviation crash investigator, said he has no concerns with the 737 Max flying under this criteria.
“These are not flying bombs about to explode,” said Vance. “They’re not gonna start dropping out of the sky on people. These are very safe airplanes flown under those conditions.
“They’re only flown by the best of the pilots with briefings. Anything that might go wrong with the airplane they know how to handle it.”
Vance added that planes are like cars — if left idle they deteriorate, and need to be in the air to stay in top shape.
Victims’ families meeting with transport minister
That doesn’t comfort Moore and Njoroge, who question why the planes can’t be restored for service if and when Canada declares them safe for passengers.
“That tells you a lot about the regulatory authorities promoting the industry instead of promoting safety, instead of safeguarding the lives of human beings.” said Njoroge.
“I don’t understand why they would use that as an excuse to fly,” said Moore.
Families of the Ethiopian Airlines crash victims say they are meeting with Garneau on Feb.12. Njoroge plans on asking Garneau to keep the planes on the ground — no exemptions.
Canada is continuing to independently review and validate changes to the Boeing 737 Max.
Transport Canada has four areas of concern that it wants addressed before the fleet can return to service including: acceptable levels of pilot workload, architecture of the flight controls, minimum training required for crew members, and aircraft performance, according to Garneau’s briefing binder obtained through an access to information request.
“I certainly understand how the families feel,” Garneau said today, commenting on the story before entering the Commons chamber.
“We look at every single one of these ferry flights very carefully, where it’s going to go and who’s going to be on board and what training and preparation they’ve had before we accept and doing it.”
“I want to tell everybody that we’re not going to put these planes back into Canadian skies to fly passengers until we’re 100 per cent satisfied.
According to figures shared by airport officials and the city, more than 1 million passengers departed or arrived at YXX this year, an 18.7 per cent increase over the previous year.
POSTMEDIA NEWS Updated: December 30, 2019
More than 1 million passengers opted to fly out of Abbotsford International Airport this year, continuing the Fraser Valley airport’s growth.
According to figures shared by airport officials and the city, more than 1 million passengers departed or arrived at YXX this year, an 18.7 per cent increase over the previous year.
“I’m proud of the careful and strategic management of this asset and I know that YXX welcoming its 1 millionth passenger is one of many exciting achievements at the Abbotsford International Airport; with many more to come,” said Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun.
YXX passenger growth since 2015:
2015 – 487,833 passengers
2016 – 530,643 (8.8% increase)
2017 – 677,653 (27.7% increase)
2018 – 842,212 (24.3% increase)
2019 – 1 million plus (18.7% to date)
The airport, while small in comparison to the nearby Vancouver International Airport, hosts four national airlines including WestJet, Swoop Airlines, Flair Airlines, and seasonal service on Air Canada Rouge. The regional Island Express Air also transports passengers to other parts of B.C.
Direct routes are available to Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Nanaimo, Victoria, Las Vegas and London, Ont., while seasonal direct service is available to Toronto, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.
YXX welcomed one-millionth passenger
BY RIA RENOUF, Dec 30, 2019
ABBOTSFORD (NEWS 1130) — The one-millionth passenger has made her way through Abbotsford International Airport.
Maple Ridge’s Patricia Lovatt found out after flying in from Edmonton on Sunday.
To celebrate, she received a $1000 voucher to use on any of the flights at YXX.
Mayor Henry Braun notes how long it took to get to this point.
“This airport has been waiting for this day for 23 years,” he says. “I think that we will hit 2 million within the next two to five years.”
Lovatt was selected at random from a group of passengers waiting for their bags.
The ultra-low fare airline adds increased service and three new destinations to its network
CALGARY, Dec. 13, 2019 /CNW/ – Today, Swoop, Canada’s ultra-low-fare airline and subsidiary of WestJet Airlines Ltd., released its 2020 summer schedule, announcing increased service and three new destinations. Starting in April 2020, Swoop’s newest routes will take travellers to two new domestic destinations including Victoria, Kamloops, and one U.S. destination, San Diego.
With summer being a busy travel season for Canadians, Swoop is also increasing its weekly frequency service between many markets including Hamilton to Winnipeg, Edmonton to Abbotsford, and Abbotsford to Winnipeg.
“In only 18 months, Swoop has experienced significant growth, and we are excited to continue this momentum with the release of our 2020 summer schedule,” said Steven Greenway, President, Swoop. “By introducing Swoop to more markets, we are achieving our mission of providing Canadians with accessible summer travel opportunities throughout North America.”
Highlights of Swoop’s 2020 summer schedule includes service between:
Edmonton-Kamloops up to four times weekly
Winnipeg-London up to four times weekly
Winnipeg-Victoria up to five times weekly
Edmonton-San Diego up to three times weekly
Edmonton-Abbotsford from 16 times weekly, to 24 times weekly
Hamilton-Winnipeg, from six times weekly, to 10 times weekly
Abbotsford to Winnipeg, from four times weekly, to daily
Since its June 2018 launch, Swoop’s summer network has grown to serve 14 domestic, 10 transborder and four international markets, rapidly expanding the airline’s network across North America. Fulfilling a need in the Canadian marketplace, Swoop continues to make a positive impact on the aviation industry, becoming Canada’s leading domestic, transborder and international ultra-low-cost carrier, with the new schedule set to increase Swoop’s frequency to 328 ultra-low fare weekly flights.
“We are very pleased to welcome Swoop to Victoria International Airport with new service to Winnipeg,” said Geoff Dickson, President and CEO, Victoria Airport Authority. “We are one of the lowest cost airports in Canada and that makes us a natural fit with the low-cost business model of Swoop. We look forward to a growing partnership and welcome the new destination and travel options for our local community and visitors to our region.”
“We’re glad to see Swoop’s growth plan includes increased service for Edmonton International Airport,” said Tom Ruth, President and CEO, Edmonton International Airport. “We look forward to more flights both for the Edmonton Metro Region and for other communities to come here and experience our great area.”
“Winnipeg Richardson International Airport travellers will have more options this summer thanks to two new direct routes from Swoop,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO, Winnipeg Airports Authority. “We are pleased to grow our partnership with Swoop as they continue to expand our community’s connectivity, giving travellers new places to discover and bringing more people to Winnipeg to explore everything our city has to offer.”
“Expanding flight services and destinations continues to be a priority for us at San Diego International Airport,” said Kim Becker, President and CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. “We are proud and excited to welcome Swoop with service to Edmonton as our newest travel destination, bringing even more offerings to our passengers in San Diego and Canada.”
“We are very pleased to welcome Swoop to Kamloops Airport this coming summer season,” said Ed Ratuski, Managing Director, Kamloops Airport. “The return of service between Kamloops and Edmonton will be welcomed by our community and offer great opportunities for adventures on both ends of the route.”
Swoop’s unbundled model ensures fares remain ultra-low, with a base fare that starts with just the seat, giving travellers the power to add the things they want, and nothing they don’t.
Flights are now available for booking through until October 24, 2020. To learn more about Swoop’s destinations, schedule and ultra-low-cost model visit FlySwoop.com or connect with Swoop on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
The Royal Air Forces’ acrobatic team headed to Vancouver next
Evan Taylor, September 27, 2019 – Abbotsford News
The Red Arrows, the Royal Air Forces’ acrobatic team, arrived in Victoria right on schedule Thursday. Their display saw them fly by the British Columbia Parliament Building.
The display could be seen from quite far away, so it’s difficult to put an exact figure on how many watched the Red Arrows but hundreds crowded the Inner Harbour during the event.
The flyby was brief, the whole thing only lasted a few seconds. The Red Arrows did treat the spectators to a bit of showmanship, by deploying red, white and blue smoke.
After their routine, they flew off to Vancouver, their final stop in Canada on their North American tour. There the pilots visited children at the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. They will also be speaking with local students to promote careers and education in the fields of aviation and aeronautic engineering.
The tour has included stops in three other Canadian cities starting in Halifax, then stopping in Ottawa and Toronto.