WestJet anticipates “very high” demand for domestic flights to Atlantic Canada this summer, which the Calgary-based carrier recently ramped up after service was suspended in NOV. And if all goes well, the airline is ready to reinstate more flights to more airports, CBC reports.
“Once travel restrictions are lifted, and we believe firmly that that will happen, our expectation is that demand will be very high this summer,” WestJet vice-president and chief commercial officer John Weatherill said at a press conference Wednesday.
Airline officials said the region’s accelerated vaccine rollout and the planned reopening of the Atlantic bubble on 19APR fuelled their plans to restore service to the region.
“There’s a lot of pent-up demand from families who haven’t been able to see each other for more than a year.”
If sales are strong enough, WestJet will “absolutely consider adding more flights” and fly to more airports, said Weatherill.
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs welcomed WestJet’s announcement and said he sees the stated late JUN start dates as a target date for opening to the rest of Canada.
“Getting the Atlantic bubble back in businesses on April 19, having the vaccine rollout effectively managed throughout all of the provinces,” lifting travel restrictions — all of this will get the provinces aligned to open Canada at the same time, he said.
To get Canadians travelling safely across the rest of the country this summer, Andrew Gibbons, WestJet’s director of government relations, said that federal and provincial governments need to prioritize a single, consistent domestic travel policy.
With regards to international travel, Gibbons said Canada needs to transition away from hotel quarantines.
He made his comments during an interview with Bloomberg where he confirmed that negotiations are still ongoing with the federal government on a sector-specific aid package.