Westjet’s capacity agreement with Pacific Coastal will spread beyond Calgary in the fall, when Westjet Link launches flights between Vancouver and Cranbrook, British Columbia. It’s the first time a Link flight will operate from a city other than Westjet’s Calgary hub.
The changes run deeper than a simple flight. It means a change in operation for Pacific Coastal at Vancouver International Airport, where the regional airline has focussed its operations exclusively at the airport’s South terminal. The Link flights will operate at gates close to Westjet’s operation at Vancouver’s Main terminal, but across the field from Pacific Coastal’s other flights.
“This new route linking interior British Columbia with our Vancouver hub provides convenient travel options between the two areas and gives our guests in Cranbrook access to a second WestJet hub with connections across our entire network,” said Brian Znotins, WestJet Vice-President Network Planning and Alliances in a statement. “WestJet is now providing the City of Cranbrook with the most flights and options to travel easily across the country and beyond.”
Pacific Coastal will continue to operate its non-stop service between Cranbrook and Vancouver, in addition to the Link flight launching October 27th. That means an additional daily flight on the route, an increase of 34 seats a day on a Saab 340 aircraft.
“We believe there’s still room for our feisty little airline,” said Kevin Boothroyd, Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Pacific Coastal in a phone call with Western Aviation News. The airline believes there is enough market demand to support flights both to the main terminal and to the South terminal, which is easier for passengers to navigate.
Cranbrook-Vancouver will be Link’s sixth route.
“The expansion of WestJet’s service, now linking the Kootenay Rockies to both WestJet’s Calgary and Vancouver hubs is a fantastic boost to our inbound visitor economy, while providing a robust global network of travel options for the Kootenay Region,” said Tristen Chernove, CEO of Elevate Airports Inc. and Canadian Rockies International Airport Manager.
“We are delighted to welcome WestJet Link’s daily service from Vancouver to Cranbrook,” said Anne Murray, Vice President, Airline Business Development and Public Affairs, Vancouver Airport Authority. “As Canada’s second busiest airport, Vancouver International Airport proudly links passengers to cities in British Columbia, North America and around the world. WestJet Link’s route to Cranbrook connects customers to a great B.C. destination and drives economic benefits for our region.”
Westjet Link has launched in June 2018, and carried 195,000 passengers in its first year.
Pacific Coastal is the third largest airline at Vancouver International Airport.