WestJet is swooping in to pick up some of the seats that Air Canada will drop from its Calgary schedule this winter.
Canada’s second-largest airline says it will increase its service from Calgary International Airport (YYC) to both Ottawa and Los Angeles.
“WestJet is unwavering in our commitment to ensure Calgary remains the most connected city in North America with under two million residents, as we continue to provide guests with even more affordable and accessible air travel across our network this winter," said Jane McCurdy, WestJet’s director of network planning and alliances, in a press on Friday (Sept. 1).
"With increased demand for these two popular routes from Calgary, we are able to provide enhanced capacity and more seats for our valued guests this winter."
Beginning Oct. 30, WestJet will double its daily service Calgary and Ottawa, adding seven additional weekly flights during peak travel periods.
In addition, five weekly flights have been added between Calgary and Los Angeles.
Here’s the revised schedule:
||Peak winter frequency
|Calgary – Ottawa
|Calgary – Los Angeles
In total, WestJet says it will operate close to 900 weekly flights from YYC Calgary International Airport during peak travel periods this winter season.
Six routes slashed
The update comes after Air Canada, on Aug. 30, confirmed that it will no longer offer non-stop flights from Calgary to Ottawa, Halifax, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Cancun, or Frankfurt as of the end of October.
In a statement to PAX, Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said the cancellations are intended to improve the “overall operational stability" of the airline, noting pilot shortages and supply chains issues as two reasons for the dropped routes.
"We apologize for the impact on customers on affected routes, who will be offered alternate travel options, including re-routing over other airports, or a full refund. No layoffs are expected as a result of these changes," Fitzpatrick said.
Air Canada, however, still plans to offer nearly 10,000 seats each week from Calgary this winter.
This includes non-stop flights to London, England, and to destinations throughout Canada and the U.S., as well transborder and internationally through its partner airlines.
For example: partner Lufthansa Group will introduce non-stop Calgary-Frankfurt beginning Oct. 30.
Air Canada says it will also continue to offer Calgary customers one-stop connections to its international network through its Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal hubs.
Including the latest changes, the adjustments Air Canada has made since August represent a 4.6 per cent decrease in planned winter flying network-wide, but only a two per cent reduction in available seats, as the airline is using larger aircraft to operate fewer frequencies.
Overall, Air Canada’s flying for winter 2023/24 will increase by 12 per cent over winter 2022-23.