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Saskatoon News

WestJet will carry two new flights between Saskatoon and Calgary

Airline rolls out new fleet of smaller jets for better regional coverage
Reported by François Biber
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WestJet is getting new airplanes and improving service between Saskatoon and Calgary this June.

WestJet had 20 firm orders for Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircrafts, which can hold up to 78 passengers.

Public relations manager Robert Palmer said WestJet will now offer two more flights between Saskatoon and Calgary, filling in an afternoon gap that used to leave some travelers waiting for hours until the next available flight.

“The Q stands for quiet. It’s a real quiet aircraft. It is just about as fast as a jet and we plan to use it on a regional basis with flights between one and two hours in length,” said Palmer.

Palmer also touched on two other projects WestJet wants to provide for Canadian travelers. He said the new planes will also help the company serve communities where there is no WestJet service. On Tuesday, they announced the first two communities to receive the Encore service will be Fort St. John and Nanaimo, B.C.

“We have not made any commitments as to how many destinations we’ll eventually end up serving by the end of the airlines maturity (five to six years),” said Palmer, adding as they get more Q400s delivered, they’ll announce more communities that will see service added. Last year 32 communities sent representatives to Calgary to make a pitch as to why WestJet should set up shop in their community.

The first two Q400s will be delivered in June and the next one in August, followed by a new Q400 every month until the end of 2013. Palmer said West Jet has 20 firm orders for Q400s, with the option of ordering another 25 planes by 2018.

WestJet will also be providing three more flights per week from Saskatoon and Regina to Toronto to keep up with the demand from business travelers. And although WestJet currently provides no flights from Saskatoon to Regina, he said as more Q400s roll in, WestJet will consider adding that flight.

fbiber@rawlco.com

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