St. John's is getting its first flight connection to Europe since 2019 as WestJet, from May 1 to Oct. 25 next year, will fly three times a week to London's Gatwick airport.
"In service of our valued Atlantic communities, partners and guests, the WestJet Group is proud to close the critical gap in air accessibility for the province by providing non-stop connectivity to one of Europe's most popular travel hubs," said WestJet Vice-President External Affairs, Andrew Gibbons, in a statement Wednesday (Nov. 15).
"Today's announcement reaffirms our commitment to the city of St. John's and the surrounding region, as we deliver on our promise to bolster leisure travel and two-way tourism options in Eastern Canada."
The flight from St. John's will depart at 12:15 a.m. NT and arrive 9 a.m. GMT. The return flight will depart 11 a.m. GMT and land in St. John's at 1:15 p.m. NT.
The restored service comes with some help from Newfoundland and Labrador taxpayers.
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Andrew Furey says Ottawa gave $3.75 million to all airports in the province in this year's budget to use as they see fit, according to CBC News, but the details of the agreement are between WestJet and the St. John's International Airport Authority.
At a launch event Wednesday, Premier Furey said restoring a European connection was a priority for his government.
"I cannot begin to explain what this means for Newfoundland and Labrador," Furey said, as reported by CBC. "The enormous impact it will have. The tremendous potential it will unlock. The new relationships which will form. This is a door opening for an explosion of potential for our people and our industries."
"A strategic priority"
In a statement, Dennis Hogan, CEO of the St. John’s International Airport Authority, called the return of non-stop transatlantic service from St. John’s "a strategic priority."
"WestJet’s St. John’s to London-Gatwick route marks a significant air access milestone and demonstrates our commitment to providing passengers with convenient access to key destinations," Hogan said. "We sincerely appreciate our provincial government’s continued support and advocacy for air access.”
This is the second time this month that St. John’s has made headlines for securing new routes.
Earlier this month, Flair Airlines announced that it will connect St. John’s with Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo next summer.