May 23rd, 2024

WestJet reducing daily flights from Lethbridge

By Lethbridge Herald on May 15, 2024.

Herald file photo - Passengers board a WestJet flight out of the Lethbridge Airport. The airline announced it will be reducing daily flights to and from Lethbridge as it transitions service to WestJet Encore starting in late October.

WestJet will be reducing the number of flights to and from Lethbridge this fall when it transitions service to WestJet Encore starting in late October.

The airline on its website Monday announced that the change will complete WestJet’s capacity purchase agreement with Pacific Coastal Airlines.

That transition means WestJet will be reducing its daily flights to and from the city from three to one.

But passengers will be flying on a bigger plane with regional connectivity to be done through the airline’s fleet of De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft which seat 78 passengers rather than the 34 on planes now servicing Lethbridge.

“WestJet will be working closely with the regional communities on this transition, which will in most cases see an increase in the number of seats offered. WestJet is committed to ensuring that air access in these communities remains supported to achieve their economic and tourism objectives,” said the airline in a statement.

Guests who have already booked WestJet Link flights beyond Oct. 27 will automatically be rebooked on WestJet Encore flights.

Jason Elliott, the City of Lethbridge’s Director of Corporate Services, said outside council chambers on Tuesday that administration heard about the change on Monday.

And he said it’s hard to determine what the impact the reduction in daily flights will have on commuters.

Elliott said the new schedule will have an early morning flight leaving Lethbridge with a return around midnight which should let travellers make connecting flights.

Weekday flights presently leave Lethbridge at 7:25 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:25 p.m. Flights for Lethbridge leave Calgary on Monday through Friday at 12:40 p.m., 5:05 p.m. and 11:10 p.m.

There are two Saturday flights from Lethbridge to Calgary on Saturdays, at 7:25 a.m. and 6:25 p.m. On Sunday there are three flights at 7:25 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:25 p.m.

There are two Saturday flights to Lethbridge at 5:05 p.m. and 11:10 p.m. There are three Sunday flights from Calgary to Lethbridge – 12:40 p.m., 5:05 p.m. and 11:10 p.m.

After the transition, there will be one flight leaving Lethbridge to Calgary at 7:05 a.m. Calgary flights to Lethbridge will be at 11:40 p.m.

WestJet says the Dash 8-400 “is the highest-capacity turboprop on the market today and has the lowest unit cost. This is due to the modernized engine and aerodynamics of the aircraft, allowing it to use less fuel and transport guests more quickly and efficiently than previous models.”

It can also take off from and land at airports with various infrastructure constraints, the airline says.

The plane also has 40 per cent more range and has 30 per cent faster cruising speeds than other turboprops, allowing for shorter flight times.

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