The Nanaimo airport will be buzzing with more regularly scheduled flights this winter.
WestJet announced Monday it will be adding an additional daily flights to Calgary and Vancouver for the upcoming winter season. The additional flights are seasonal and will be operated by WestJet Encore, the airline’s subsidiary.
The airline’s Nanaimo-Calgary route currently has two daily flights, however, beginning today, Aug. 14, that will increase to three flights per day. WestJet’s Nanaimo-Vancouver route is currently one flight daily, but will increase to two times daily beginning on Aug. 17. Both seasonal flights will end on April 27.
The announcement of additional seasonal flights for Nanaimo was part of a larger announcement for WestJet, which also announced service from Saskatoon to Orlando and Calgary to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Lauren Stewart, spokeswoman for WestJet, said the increased seasonal frequency is part of WestJet’s drive to increase traffic and connections through Calgary and Vancouver airports.
“We wanted to provide additional and convenient connections for the community into our two hubs,” Stewart said. “This is going to the give community more convenient and better access to a lot of our sunset destinations this winter, so Jamaica, Palm Springs and Hawaii.”
The Calgary-based airline is also expecting the delivery of its very first Boeing 787 series aircraft in January. Stewart said with new highly advanced aircraft on the way, WestJet needs to add more routes.
WestJet is expected to announce the destinations for its 787 aircraft in the fall according to Stewart.
Mike Hooper, president of the Nanaimo Airport, said WestJet’s announcement is fantastic and solidifies the position that expansion at the airport is needed and money well spent. He said he believes the additional flights will be successful and ultimately converted from seasonal to year-round.
“We are one of the fastest growing airports in B.C. and the reason we are is because the population here is growing dramatically and the people that are moving are seeking air service to other parts of Canada and across North America,” he said. “So, for sure we will see the routes expand.”
The Nanaimo airport’s terminal is currently being expanded to 14,000 square feet as part of a $14-million project that also includes upgrades to the departure lounge, baggage and security screening areas.