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A WestJet 787-9 prepares for a test flight at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

WestJet Adds Warm Weather Destinations

On Wednesday, WestJet unveiled its schedule for January, which highlights new route resumptions and upgauges — changes to the aircraft operating certain routes — to its Caribbean network.  The new route resumptions include Ixtapa, Mexico, and Liberia, Costa Rica, both from Calgary, Canada, while WestJet’s upgauges feature its Boeing 787 Dreamliner on flights to Puerto Vallarta and Cancun.

January Schedule

Its January schedule features those two resumptions.  These two routes will recommence on Jan. 9 as weekly flights from the carrier’s hub in Calgary. Westjet’s service to Liberia is accompanied by its current weekly service from Toronto.

Departure City Arrival City Frequency Departure Time(Local) Arrival Time(Local)
Calgary Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo  Saturdays 9:30 a.m. 3:48 p.m.
Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo  Calgary Sundays 12:20 p.m. 4:56 p.m.
Calgary Liberia, Costa Rica Saturdays 10 a.m. 5:55 p.m.
Liberia, Costa Rica Calgary Sundays 12 p.m. 6:25 p.m.

Among other notable resumptions, the Calgary-based airline will be resuming weekly flights between Kona, Hawaii and Vancouver and will also restart flights between Aruba and Toronto.  It will be competing with Air Canada on its flights from Aruba to Toronto.  

Additionally, WestJet will be offering its Boeing 787 Dreamliner product on flights from Calgary to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, starting on Jan. 3 and Jan. 23, respectively.  Its Boeing 787 Dreamliner features 320 seats with 16 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.  Recently, the airline received a 5 Star APEX rating due to its passenger experience.

In January, the airline will provide service to 57 destinations, including 33 in Canada, 10 in the U.S. including Hawaii, six in Mexico, six in the Caribbean, one in Europe and one in Central America. The full schedule for WestJet’s international portfolio can be found here.

Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet’s Chief Commercial Officer, said, “WestJet continues to welcome the introduction of new COVID-19 testing programs and pilots to ensure that our guests can confidently and safely travel abroad. With new destinations and the introduction of our Dreamliner service to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, guests can book with additional peace of mind knowing our flexible change and cancel policies remain in place for the new year.”

COVID-19 Precautions

For travelers on its flights to Kona, WestJet will offer pre-departure testing via LifeLabs, Canada’s largest medical laboratory.  If a traveler tests negative within 72 hours, they will be able to avoid Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine.  

Canadian’s are subject to a 14-day quarantine when traveling abroad.  However, Alberta offers a COVID-19 test upon arrival, which reduces a traveler’s time in quarantine.  If a traveler’s test comes in negative, the traveler will be able to leave their house, but they will be required to submit a second test six to seven days after.

Sun and Fun Strategy

WestJet’s focus on leisure travel to “sun and fun destinations” represents a global trend in the shift of airlines towards leisure destinations.  Due to the elimination of business travel demand from the COVID-19 pandemic, full-service airlines have resorted to competing against low-cost carriers in popular leisure markets.  For example, United Airlines has started extensively shifting its focus towards leisure travel via expanding its flights to the Caribbean through its multiple hubs.

However, looking towards the future, WestJet has a fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s for future international expansion after the COVID-19 pandemic and a fleet of new Boeing 737MAX’s.  The fleet types will position WestJet to compete against the largest carrier in Canada, Air Canada.

Parker Davis
Parker Davis
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