General aviation

Westjet doubles down on Calgary hub

A Westjet Boeing 737 departs Vancouver International Airport in July 2019 (photo: Brett Ballah).

Canadian carrier Westjet is reinforcing its Calgary hub this summer, adding 90 new flights each week, including its first service to Dawson Creek, British Columbia through its partnership with Pacific Coastal Airlines.

The airline is also adding new routes to Rome, Boston, and Charlottetown from Calgary, boosting capacity to Prince George by shifting to year-round service on Dash-8 aircraft, and adding frequencies to a host of other cities, cementing its position as the dominant carrier in Alberta’s largest city.

The move comes as passenger numbers in some Canadian markets have stagnated, partly as a result of the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max for almost a year.

“WestJet is focused on investing in Alberta to build and strengthen our Calgary hub,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer in a statement.

Thanks in part to Westjet’s concentration on Calgary connections and new trans-Atlantic Dreamliner service, Calgary International served almost 18 million passengers in 2019, a new record for the airport.

“WestJet continues to invest in Calgary International Airport as its home base and expansion focus,” said Bob Sartor, President and CEO, The Calgary Airport Authority. “It is Calgary’s largest carrier and we are committed to facilitating their growth.”

BELOW: The map shows new Westjet services from Calgary (in light blue) and service increases (in dark blue).

The Link partnership with Pacific Coastal has opened new, smaller, markets for Westjet as the possibilities for its larger Boeing 737 and Dash-8 aircraft were tapped out. In the process, Westjet has shifted its focus from low-cost, point-to-point service to a full service airline, with more lucrative business class seats in the front of the aircraft.

Dawson Creek will bring the number of Westjet destinations from Calgary to 72.

“The City of Dawson Creek is pleased to welcome WestJet to our community,” said Dale Bumstead, Mayor of the City of Dawson Creek. “Dawson Creek is the hub of economic opportunity in the South Peace Region and WestJet service will further enhance these opportunities by providing our airport with additional destinations.”

This summer, the airline boasts it will operate more than 1000 flights per week out of Calgary International Airport.