WestJet Announces Destinations For Regional Carrier

WestJet will be ramping up service to smaller communities with its new regional carrier, Encore.

WestJet looks to B.C. when choosing the first destinations for its new carrier, Encore.

On February 11, 2013 WestJet announced Fort St. John and Nanaimo as the first two destinations for the carrier’s new regional service, Encore. Service is set to start June 24, 2013 and the regional carrier will run daily flights from each city to Calgary, with an additional service between Vancouver and Fort St. John. WestJet first announced news of a regional carrier in January 2012 after, in December 2011, the company asked its employees if a regional airline was a good idea, and 91 per cent agreed with an emphatic “yes.” The Calgary-based airline then held a community day, where 32 communities across Canada made their bid to WestJet on why they should be among the carrier’s new destinations.

While ultimately only two–both in B.C.–were picked for the first run, WestJet spokesperson Robert Palmer is quick to note that this announcement will not be the last about Encore: “There’s going to be a lot of communities that are going to receive service. It’s important for people to realize that this is just the first two–it’s not the only two. As we take on additional aircrafts, we’re going to obviously add additional communities.” With plans to order 20 Bombardier Q400 planes already confirmed (in addition to the three they currently own) regional expansion should proceed within the next five years.

Palmer pointed to Fort St. John’s strong business economy and business-travel market as well as Nanaimo’s draw as a business and leisure destination as reasons behind the decision to launch with them.