November 24, 2017 2:04 pm
Updated: November 24, 2017 8:31 pm

WestJet launches new regional air service in Western Canada with Pacific Coastal

WATCH: The Lethbridge airport has another carrier, WestJet is set to make three round trips to Calgary daily starting March 7. Matt Battochio reports.

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WestJet Airlines Ltd. has introduced a new regional air service in Western Canada operating under a capacity purchase agreement with B.C.-based Pacific Coastal Airlines Ltd.

WestJet Link will connect the Alberta communities of Lethbridge, Lloydminster and Medicine Hat and the B.C. communities of Cranbrook and Prince George to WestJet’s network hub at the YYC Calgary International Airport.

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All WestJet Link flights will be operated by Pacific Coastal using its fleet of 34-seat Saab 340B aircraft.

Pacific Coastal’s aircraft will be painted in WestJet colours.

READ MORE: Pacific Coastal Airlines hoping to capitalize on low Canadian dollar 

“This new partnership between WestJet and Pacific Coastal will allow smaller communities within Alberta and British Columbia to take advantage of YYC’s extensive route network,” said Bob Sartor, president and CEO for the Calgary Airport Authority.

“Bringing in new passengers from these communities provides more opportunities to support additional long-haul destinations and contributes greatly to WestJet’s growth strategy out of YYC.”

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The new year-round, non-stop service includes three daily flights from Calgary to Lethbridge starting March 7, 2018, three daily flights from Calgary to Medicine Hat starting May 31 and three daily flights from Calgary to Cranbrook starting March 7.

“Today’s announcement is very welcome news,” Lethbridge mayor Chris Spearman said.

“Enhanced air service is something residents and the business community in Lethbridge have been requesting for a long time. Lethbridge is continuing to be noticed on a provincial and national scale for being a great place to live and do business, and enhanced air service was a previously missing piece of the puzzle.”

Lethbridge County and the City of Lethbridge are currently pursuing a joint governance model and developing an Airport Master Plan to enhance services and ensure the airport remains a strong economic asset to the area.

READ MORE: Lethbridge County asks city to share ownership of airport 

Westjet Link also includes once-daily flights from Calgary to Lloydminster and Calgary to Prince George.

“Having WestJet providing service from the Lloydminster Airport is a big win for our airport and our region,” Lloydminster Airport Manager Wade Frasz said. “We have a fantastic staff operating and maintaining this facility and it has long been our shared vision to attract an internationally esteemed carrier such as WestJet.”

— With files from Global’s Emily Mertz

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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