WestJet and Encore to debut new routes

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WestJet and its regional subsidiary Encore will launch flights on several new routes from its summer schedule.

WestJet will begin service between Calgary and New York John F. Kennedy, and between Calgary and Prince George in British Columbia. It will operate daily on both routes, effective 27 April.

The airline will also add several new routes and flight frequencies from Fort McMurray in Alberta, forming what it calls the largest single increase of flights to Fort McMurray since WestJet began serving the area.

Encore will launch new service between Fort McMurray and Kelowna in British Columbia, as well as between Fort McMurray and Vancouver. Both routes will launch on 12 May and will be served daily by Encore.

WestJet itself will begin new non-stop service from Fort McMurray to Las Vegas from 24 June, and will convert existing daily Toronto service to year-round. The airline will also increase the frequency of flights to both Calgary and Edmonton.

All of the five new routes will be launched as seasonal service, but a WestJet spokesperson says there is potential for them to be operated year-round.

Separately, Encore will launch service from Toronto in June, in line with earlier announced plans that it would expand outside of its current operations in western Canada. The carrier will begin flights between Toronto and Thunder Bay, and between Toronto and Winnipeg. A WestJet spokesperson says Encore will begin operations on both routes on 27 June. WestJet itself already operates Boeing 737 service on the two Toronto routes. Encore operates Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s.

WestJet will face competition on some of the new routes. Canadian regional carrier Central Mountair Air operates between Calgary and Prince George, schedules in Innovata show. Air Canada offers competition on service between Fort McMurray and Vancouver, between Toronto and Winnipeg, and between Toronto and Thunder Bay. Porter Airlines also offers service between Toronto and Thunder Bay, although Porter's flights depart from Toronto City's Billy Bishop airport.

While WestJet will be the only carrier operating between Calgary and New York JFK, Air Canada offers service between Calgary and Newark Liberty.