Westjet appears set to announce the details of their new service to London, England beginning next year, and YWG may be in a good position to be named one of the airports involved.
Update — September 14: Yes, Westjet will announce service to Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and St Johns starting next May. Route details.
City and schedule announcements are due to follow this summer’s news that London (Gatwick) was selected as Westjet’s first transatlantic destination for their wide-body Boeing 767-300 aircraft acquired from Qantas.
In addition to Winnipeg, other potential markets could include Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, and Toronto. All have airports which –unlike Winnipeg– already have some direct service to London from other carriers.
Westjet social media reps have been fielding an increasing number of inquires about the cities involved, responding only with ‘stay tuned’ and ‘announcements coming soon’. Despite the lack of official comment, with the Manitoba government’s new jet fuel tax rebate program for select non-stop international flights coming into effect in July, and a press event scheduled for this week, Winnipeg appears to be a solid candidate.
If that proves to be the case it would be welcome addition to service at James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, with prospects of additional local jobs and improved business and tourism ties with the UK. Winnipeg has not had a direct connection to England in several years, Zoom Airlines ceased operations ~2008 and the promised service from GO Travel never really developed.
No matter which Canadian cities are selected, it’s possible that service originally slated to begin in the spring could be slightly delayed. Westjet’s website generally supports bookings ~330 days in advance which could mean a launch closer to the fall, something a contact at Gatwick also believed to be the case.
Photo: Matt Kieffer