WestJet Encore will launch its first route in central Canada between Toronto and Quebec City on 15 March 2015.
The regional carrier will provide twice-daily service on the route with its 78-seat Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprops. WestJet flies between the two cities today with the 119-seat Boeing 73-600 and 136-seat Boeing 737-700 in its mainline fleet, Innovata schedules show. The Encore service will replace the jet-operated flights, says the airline.
Air Canada's regional partner Jazz Aviation competes on the route with four to six flights per day. The airline uses 74-seat Q400s for the service.
WestJet plans to expand to the Atlantic provinces like Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and will make an announcement about additional service in coming months, says WestJet chief executive Gregg Saretsky during the airline's 6 May annual general meeting at the Toronto Stock Exchange.
"We're on our way east and we'll be making another announcement in July," says Saretsky.
WestJet Encore launched in June 2013 with two turboprop aircraft, serving regional routes from its base in Calgary. It has now expanded that fleet to 10 aircraft, Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows. The airline has 15 pending orders and 20 options for turboprops to add to the Encore fleet.
Saretsky announced in September 2013 that the regional airline would expand to central Canada by mid-2014 with a beachhead in Toronto.