West Jet expansion sees WJ Encore heading to Toronto

westjet1The air wars get more intense every week, it seems. And with it our choices for air travel increase.

Calgary-based WestJet today announced “its most comprehensive schedule release since the airline took to the skies in 1996.”

The airline said it’s adding five new routes, increasing frequency on 20 existing routes across the network, and moving five seasonal routes to year-round service.

The biggest news for folks in the right-hand side of the country is that WestJet Encore is moving east (as expected) to start service between Toronto and Thunder Bay, as well as between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg.

“The latest schedule reflects the varied needs of the many guests who choose WestJet,” said John Weatherill, WestJet’s Director, Network and Schedule Planning.  “We have added inflight service and amenities for those guests travelling for business and additional flight frequency and convenient, non-stop service across all points of the network. Our goal is to make it even easier to do business affordably and efficiently with our airline. Leisure travellers asking for more frequency to WestJet’s southern destinations will also see their options increase with today’s announcement.”

WestJet Encore will also launch new routes between Fort McMurray and Kelowna, B.C. and Fort McMurray and Vancouver as part of the largest single increase of flights to Fort McMurray since WestJet first began service to the area, the airline said. The Fort McMurray expansion also includes new WestJet non-stop flights to Las Vegas (I bet the oil sands workers will love that), conversion of daily Toronto non-stop flights to year-round service, and frequency increases to both Calgary and Edmonton.

The summer of 2014 will see WestJet’s first entry into the European, trans-Atlantic market with direct flights between Toronto and Dublin beginning June 15, 2014; a huge step for them.

Officials said other summer highlights include new daily non-stop flights between Calgary and Prince George, B.C. and from Calgary to New York’s JFK International Airport, as well as service increases to 15 popular southern destinations including Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale and , not to mention other Caribbean and Mexican spots.

It’s a very solid expansion, for sure. And good news for travel types in this country and for tourism folks in Canada and some of those winter spots, including southern California, south Florida and Arizona.


Meanwhile, the website Skift reports New York state governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the state is “taking control of an ambitious $3.6 billion construction project that envisions an entirely new central terminal at LaGuardia” Airport in New York City.

It’s about freaking time. They’ve made the odd improvement but it’s still a terrible airport by most standards; dark and dingy and old. And that’s not the impression New York state or New York City wants to give out.

The Skift story said there will be “vast open spaces, restaurants, shopping plazas, new parking garages, free Wi-Fi and other amenities now common in other airports. Cuomo also wants to develop a plan to upgrade cargo operations at nearby John F. Kennedy International Airport.”

Sounds more like major reconstruction versus a facelift, come to think of it.

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