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WestJet launches Edmonton, U.S. expansion as it focuses on western Canada

Growth plan includes mounting new service to the U.S., as well as new domestic routes

A Westjet Boeing 737-700 with identification C-GWBT taking off from Calgary International Airport. YYC
WestJet is expanding its service out of Edmonton, the airline announced on Monday. (Getty Images) (Stefonlinton via Getty Images)

WestJet is launching new routes out of Edmonton and adding more flights to the United States, the airline announced on Monday, as it continues to focus on building out its network in western Canada.

The Calgary-based airline says the Edmonton expansion, the largest out of Edmonton International Airport in the airline's history, will see service from the airport increase by 50 per cent compared to 2022. The expansion includes new service to the United States, as well as new domestic routes.

"Today's announcement underpins WestJet's strategic ambitions to grow its presence across Western Canada and further strengthens Canada's east-to-west connectivity," the company said in a press release.

Starting this summer, WestJet will offer non-stop service to Minneapolis, Minn. and Seattle, Wash. The airline will also launch new routes from Edmonton to London, Ont., Moncton, N.B., and Charlottetown, P.E.I., and resume service of non-stop flights to Ottawa, Ont., Montreal, Que., Nanaimo and Penticton, B.C.

"Edmonton is an integral part of WestJet's beginnings and our future," Alexis von Hoensbroech, chief executive officer of WestJet Group, said in a statement.

WestJet also unveiled it will add 20 new routes and three new U.S. destinations to its summer schedule, including Minneapolis, Detroit and Washington. The newly added transborder routes are out of Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg. While service out of Edmonton will be up 50 per cent compared to 2022, the company said it will be up 30 per cent year-over-year in Calgary and 10 per cent year-over-year in Vancouver.

The expansion is part of WestJet's growth strategy that was first unveiled last summer that has seen the airline significantly shift resources to focus on its network in western Canada.

While the airline still has a significant presence in eastern Canada, it has implemented changes in its network so the market is primarily being served through connections to western cities. It also shifted its regional fleet of De Haviland Q400 aircraft to focus on western Canada, "removing complexity from operations and prioritizing the airline's commitment to enhance Western Canada's connectivity," WestJet said.

WestJet says it expects its network changes to be gradually implemented by the summer.

These are the new routes and frequencies WestJet will be flying out of Edmonton:

Destination

Start Date

Peak Season Frequency

Minneapolis

June 2

5x weekly

Seattle

May 19

5x weekly

Charlottetown

June 14

1x weekly

Moncton

June 29

2x weekly

Penticton

July 1

2x weekly

Nanaimo

Year-
round

2x weekly

London

May 19

2x weekly

Ottawa

April 30

6x weekly

Montreal

June 30

2x weekly

The Canadian airline industry has seen competition ramp up in recent years, with the launch of several new ultra-low-cost carriers such as Flair Airlines, Lynx Airlines and Canada Jetlines trying to take a bite out of Air Canada and WestJet's market dominance. Porter Airlines is also in the midst of an aggressive growth strategy that has started to see the airline fly out of Toronto's Pearson Airport.

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

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