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WestJet boosts summer domestic schedule

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WestJet is ramping up summer domestic flights by resuming over 40 routes and announcing the launch of 11 new nonstop routes across Canada, reflecting rising confidence in the country’s travel demand recovery, the airline announced on June 25.

“We continue to work toward the restoration of our pre-COVID domestic network to ensure that when our guests are ready to travel, we are there for them,” said John Weatherill, WestJet’s chief commercial officer.

“WestJet is committed to rebuilding stronger for the benefit of all Canadians, and as we prepare to reunite friends, family, and loved ones, a safe return to travel is critical to Canada’s economic recovery.”

The additions will increase capacity across WestJet’s entire network. The Calgary (YYC)-based carrier will offer nonstop flights to 42 locations from its home base once all routes are operational, including 26 from Toronto (YYZ), 18 from Vancouver (YVR), and 16 from Edmonton (YEG). The airline’s network will be expanded with the addition of 11 more nonstop flights, which were announced in March.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, Canada’s airlines have faced severe travel restrictions, both domestically and internationally. Improvements inside Canada have loosened inter-provincial constraints, allowing Canadian carriers to increase domestic flights.

The resumption of service to the country’s Atlantic regions was one of WestJet’s recent moves, which created a travel bubble.

The airline is also gradually resuming international operations, with flights to Amsterdam (AMS) and London (LON) (LGW). This is despite business stakeholders’ continuing criticism of Canada’s stringent regulations for international passengers.

On June 21, Canada’s health ministry announced adjustments to make overseas travel easier for Canadians this summer, while keeping most restrictions in place for non-Canadians, international visitors, and business travelers.

“Canada’s airports are disappointed that the federal government is withholding information on the next steps in its restart plan, putting Canadians and the travel and tourism industry in the dark about what is planned in the coming weeks and months,” stated the Canadian Airports Council.

Continuing quarantine rules and funneling all international flights through four Canadian airports, according to the airports association, are policies that need to be modified.

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