WestJet Plans Robust Transborder Schedule

Credit: Trevisan Aviation Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Canada’s WestJet will add U.S. destinations Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis (MSP) and Washington Dulles (IAD) to its summer 2023 schedule.

The carrier late last year implemented a strategy of retrenching to its traditional western Canada domain after the several years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic saw it make a push to compete head-to-head with rival Air Canada in the eastern part of the country and on transatlantic routes from major airports across Canada. Five European routes out of Toronto Pearson (YYZ) to Barcelona (BCN), Dublin (DUB), Edinburgh (EDI), Glasgow (GLA) and London Gatwick (LGW) are being dropped, and all Boeing 787 flying–the carrier has a fleet of seven of the type–will originate from its Calgary (YYC) base. 

The carrier is now focusing heavily on routes that emanate from YYC, YEG and Vancouver (YVR) while leaning on international codeshare partners—such as Japan Airlines and Air France/KLM—to give its passengers access to wider long-haul networks. 

While it has taken a step back from overseas flying, the airline Feb. 13 unveiled a summer schedule that will see it operate a large U.S. transborder schedule with a slew of routes to be opened in the second half of May and early June.

From Calgary, the airline will fly to Austin (AUS) in Texas (2X-weekly); Chicago O’Hare (ORD) (4X-weekly): DTW (4X-weekly); and IAD (3X-weekly).

From Edmonton, WestJet will serve Minneapolis (MSP) and Seattle (SEA). Both routes will be operated 5X-weekly.

“WestJet’s renewed commitment to the city of Edmonton will see the airline’s service increase by almost 50% this summer when compared to 2022,” YEG says in a statement. “Additionally, today’s announcement underpins WestJet’s strategic ambitions to grow its presence across western Canada.”

From Vancouver, the carrier will operate flights to Atlanta (ATL) (4X-weekly); Nashville (BNA) in Tennessee (2X-weekly); and Orlando (1X-weekly). WestJet additionally plans to open 3X-weekly Winnipeg-Los Angeles (LAX) flights from April 30.

"We're thrilled to welcome WestJet to Minnesota and are pleased to add an important business route to Edmonton,” MSP CEO Brian Ryks says. "WestJet's arrival also opens up new connections for travelers across Western Canada and the United States leveraging their codeshare with Delta Air Lines, MSP's largest carrier."

DTW CEO Chad Newton says: “With the addition of WestJet, our customers will be able to fly directly from Detroit to Calgary for the first time since 2005. We're hoping this route will also give our Canadian neighbors one more reason to visit our great region.”

IAD notes Calgary will become the airport’s 60th international destination and WestJet will become the 40th carrier serving the suburban Virginia airport.

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.