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WestJet Ending Link Regional Service, Transitioning Flights to Encore

Most routes will see increased aircraft capacity but frequencies will be reduced across all routes.

A WestJet Link Saab 340

A WestJet Link Saab 340. (Photo: WestJet)

WestJet has announced that it will be ending the WestJet Link regional brand and transitioning its flights to WestJet Encore. The news marks the end of WestJet’s capacity purchase agreement with Pacific Coastal Airlines.

The End of WestJet Link

WestJet Link is the brand name used for regional flights in the WestJet network operated by Pacific Coastal. The partnership was established in 2017, with the first WestJet Link flights taking off in June of 2018.

Pacific Coastal is a regional airline that operates throughout the westernmost Canadian province of British Columbia. Over the past six years, the carrier has also operated feeder flights from WestJet’s hubs at Vancouver International Airport and Calgary International Airport under the WestJet Link brand. Although Pacific Coastal operates a variety of small regional aircraft, it exclusively flies 34-seat Saab 340B aircraft for WestJet.

WestJet has stated that the end of its Link brand will complete its capacity purchase agreement with Pacific Coastal. Flights currently operated under the WestJet Link brand will be transitioned to WestJet Encore, WestJet’s main regional subsidiary. WestJet Encore has a fleet of nearly 50 De Havilland Canada Dash 8-Q400 turboprop aircraft with 78 seats each.

Route Transition Details

Pacific Coastal currently operates six routes under the WestJet Link brand. From Calgary, it flies to Cranbrook/Canadian Rockies International Airport, Lethbridge Airport, and Medicine Hat Airport. Meanwhile, WestJet Link operations from Vancouver consist of flights to Comox Valley Airport, Cranbrook/Canadian Rockies International Airport, and Nanaimo Airport.

All routes will be transitioned to WestJet Encore by Oct. 27, 2024. Although WestJet has stated that most routes will see an increase in overall capacity, all routes will see decreased frequencies with the larger aircraft type:

  • Calgary – Cranbrook will transition from three daily Link flights (21 weekly flights) to 11 weekly Encore flights.
  • Calgary – Lethbridge will transition from three daily Link flights to one daily Encore flight.
  • Calgary – Medicine Hat will transition from three daily Link flights to one daily Encore flight.
  • Vancouver – Comox will transition from two daily Link flights to one daily Encore flight.
  • Vancouver – Cranbrook will transition from one daily Link flight to three weekly Encore flights.
  • Vancouver – Nanaimo will transition from two daily Link flights to four weekly Encore flights.

WestJet will continue to maintain a partnership with Pacific Coastal in the form of the two companies’ reciprocal interline agreement. “We are sincerely grateful for Pacific Coastal’s valued partnership over the last six years and look forward to our shared guests benefiting from our interline agreement going forward,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Group Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer.

Andrew Chen

Author

  • Andrew Chen

    Andrew is a lifelong lover of aviation and travel. He has flown all over the world and is fascinated by the workings of the air travel industry. As a private pilot and glider pilot who has worked with airlines, airports and other industry stakeholders, he is always excited to share his passion for aviation with others. In addition to being a writer, he also hosts Flying Smarter, an educational travel podcast that explores the complex world of air travel to help listeners become better-informed and savvier travelers.

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