Whether or not the service is here to stay remains to be seen, but northwest B.C. travellers will be able to book direct flights to and from Alberta on WestJet this holiday season.
The airline announced the return of its direct Terrace-Calgary passenger flights starting Dec. 1 — with four-times-weekly flights on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — on WestJet Encore’s Q400 aircraft. The service will cut the travel time between Terrace and Calgary to just over two hours, by avoiding having to fly to Vancouver first for a connecting flight.
John Weatherill, chief commercial officer at WestJet, said in a media release that the added capacity will support critical projects and growing industries in Terrace and Western B.C. “The West is our home and as we turn to an exciting new chapter of growth, we are committed to providing vital domestic connections that support the economic diversification and success of Western Canada.”
Carman Hendry, general manager at the Northwest Regional Airport Terrace-Kitimat, welcomed the news. “This will enhance our airport’s ability to serve our region with a first-class schedule.”
It’s not the first time the airline has tried direct flights between the two cities. WestJet cancelled its twice-weekly Terrace-Calgary direct flights in February 2019, just six months after introducing the service, citing low passenger numbers.
WestJet and Air Canada had both offered the direct service in 2015 at the height of liquefied natural gas development speculation in the northwest, but both withdrew when passenger numbers failed to live up to expectations.
Carol Leclerc, outgoing mayor of Terrace, said renewed direct service to and from Calgary is “eagerly welcomed” by the community. She added that Terrace-Kitimat airport numbers have been growing coming out of the pandemic, and that air traffic is busy.
“Terrace is a key service centre for northwest B.C. and it’s integral for our residents, businesses and industry to have access to critical services such as air travel,” she noted.
Bob Sartor, president and CEO at the Calgary Airport Authority, said the route will benefit both British Columbians and Albertans, adding that Terrace and area residents will once again be able to access more than 75 destinations within Canada and abroad.
In June WestJet said its regional fleet of De Haviland Q400 aircraft would be shifted and rightsized to focus more on Western Canada amid speculation the airline is being out-competed in Eastern Canada.
With files from Rod Link
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