Biggest seven days in Canadian airline history? Could be ... Jaunt.ca deal of day
I'm not old enough to remember the start of Air Canada, so it could be there have been bigger weeks in Canadian aviation. But certainly the seven day period from today to Canada Day is one with enormous implications for the airlines and, more importantly, for consumers.
WestJet today launched its new regional service, called Encore, serving smaller communities who've been desperate to upgrade themselves as tourist destinations and build out their airports and attract new business. Encore will serve such cities as Nanaimo and Fort St. John B.C., as well as Saskatoon.
They're holding big welcome parties with entertainment and face-painting (presumably not for the pilots) and all that in Nanaimo, which is welcoming a flight from Calgary, and Victoria, which has a flight to Vancouver.
The Calgary Herald reports that more 100 flight attendants, pilots, mechanics and other workers have been hired in the last several months. WestJet Encore president Ferio Pugliese said by the time the new airline reaches full maturity five years from now, it will employ close to 1,800 people, operate 45 aircraft, and fly to destinations coast to coast, which is good news for those of us in eastern Canada.
Officials have said they'd love to someday fly out of the Toronto Island airport.
"There’s a significant redrawing of the airline business in the next couple of years in Canada,” said David Tyerman, managing director at Toronto brokerage Canaccord Genuity Inc., in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen. “The biggest (event) is likely to be WestJet’s Encore. I’m pretty sure that’s going to be successful. Their low-cost structure gives them very good potential to be successful right out of the gate. And they obviously did this model once before with (their fleet of Boeing) 737s.”
As if Encore wasn't enough, we've got Air Canada's new discount service, Rouge, kicking off next Monday, Canada Day. Rouge will be flying from Toronto and Montreal to the Caribbean, Central America and Europe, including destinations such as Jamaica, Costa Rica, Punta Cana, Edinburgh, Athens and Venice.
Big times, indeed. And don't forget Porter's plans to extend the runway at the Toronto Island Airport and potentially fly new Bombardier jets to such far-flung spots as Vancouver, Miami and Los Angeles....
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