September 3, 2013 6:08 pm

First WestJet flight arrives in Brandon

WestJet’s first flight in its daily service between Brandon and Calgary arrived at Manitoba's second largest city Tuesday afternoon.

Tamara Forlanski / Global News

WINNIPEG – Brandon celebrated the arrival of a WestJet flight from Calgary on Tuesday.

The airline’s first flight in its daily service between the Manitoba city and Calgary arrived just before 1 p.m. The return flight left Brandon bound back to Calgary about an hour later.

Around 800 people were on hand to see the WestJet flight land.

“It was two hours. It was amazing,” said Jill Redfern, one of the first passengers on the plane from Calgary.

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Manitoba’s second-largest city has petitioned for the resumption of regularly scheduled major airline service at its airport for more than a decade.

An online petition launched by the city in February got the support of more than 10,000 people.

WestJet is keeping a close eye on how many people are buying tickets.

The first flight leaving the Wheat City wasn’t completely sold out. There was room for three more people on the 78-seat Bombardier Q400.

Still, the airline is optimistic this service will be successful.

“We don’t like to see factors under the 50 per cent mark,” said Ferio Pugliese, the president of WestJet Encore. “We’d like to see things 60 per cent plus. So far, that’s the neighbourhood we’re seeing.”

Brandonites wait to check in at the WestJet desk in the Brandon Airport Tuesday afternoon.

Tamara Forlanski / Global News

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