WestJet to offer direct flights between Charlottetown and Calgary

WestJet will soon be adding new non-stop seasonal flights between Charlottetown and Calgary.

The airline announced Friday in Charlottetown it will expand what it calls its seasonal service between the two cities starting June 25 and ending Sept. 7.

"Our partners in both P.E.I.and Alberta are excited with the opportunity this service represents as both have a new opportunity to market their world-class tourism assets," said Charles Duncan, chief strategy officer for WestJet, in a written news release Friday.

"This direct flight between P.E.I and Alberta will further strengthen our relationship with Western Canada," said P.E.I. Premier Dennis King in the release.

The flights from Calgary to Charlottetown will depart at 10:45 p.m. and arrive at 6:23 a.m. four times weekly. Flights from Charlottetown to Calgary will leave at 7:15 a.m. and arrive at 9:33 a.m. four times weekly.

"I think it opens up opportunities for Tourism PEI and others to start to market P.E.I. right across the country and especially obviously in the Alberta area," said Doug Newson, CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority.

"Open up new possibilities for tourists to come here and make it easier maybe for those people that want to travel west."

"Altogether it'll be a 35 per cent increase in the number of seats that WestJet will fly into Charlottetown," Duncan said.

WestJet said the flights are timed to connect with destinations in Western Canada including Vancouver, Edmonton, Kelowna and Victoria. Duncan said that will give Islanders easier access to a number of other destinations as well.

Travis Kingdon/CBC

"We have almost 200 flights a day to dozens of destinations in Calgary," said Duncan.

"If people are going to Edmonton … or any of dozens of other places. This will be the fastest way to get there and I think people will be impressed with the pricing they see as well."

Increased demand

It's been something that WestJet and the Charlottetown Airport have been working on for at least three years, said Duncan. 

"We have been seeing gradually, over the past several years, the number … of our guests on the airplane from Calgary and Alberta coming to Charlottetown increasing," he said.

"This is the year that we actually see enough demand that we can actually maintain our service from Toronto and the non-stop flights from Calgary." 

Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press

Newson said he thinks tourism will be the main driver of seat sales for the new flight. 

"I don't think we do a lot of marketing in the Alberta market right now and one of those reasons probably is because it is so far and we don't have that non-stop direct air access," he said.

"Now that we have that, I think you'll probably see a bit more focus on the Alberta market especially in the Calgary area because it's more convenient to get here."

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