Canadian discount carrier
Beginning this May, WestJet will begin flying to Gatwick from the Canadian cities of Calgary,
The routes will not be WestJet's first European destinations. The carrier already has offered seasonal
But WestJet's London expansion is fueled by the addition of Boeing 767 widebody jets, which just began joining the airline's fleet last month. The 737s are geared more toward domestic routes, though they are able to fly some very short trans-Atlantic routes at typical passenger loads.
But the 767 opens up long-haul overseas possibilities for WestJet. Routes like London-Vancouver and London-Calgary wouldn't be feasible with shorter-range 737s.
Saretsky suggested an even broader international push could be ahead.
"Today we're getting our feet wet with England this service to London Gatwick but … ultimately these aircraft have a lot more range than anything we've ever flown," he says to the Calgary Herald.
"So we can reach Asia. We can reach Latin America. We can reach even
For now, the new London routes seem certain to spark airline competition between Canada and London.
WestJet's introductory fares to London ranged from CDN $199 each way (about US $151) from St. John's to CDN $299 each way (US $227) from western Canada.
The National Post of Toronto notes Air Canada has "dominated" the Canada-London market "for decades," but suggests WestJet's six new routes could shake that up.
The Post writes WestJet "will be going head-to-head with Air Canada, which offers 77 flights a week to London's
"This is going to be happy, happy times for consumers because in a lot of markets there will be substantial competition," Robert Kokonis, an airline industry consultant at AirTrav, says to CBC News.
Despite the looming competition, WestJet struck a bullish tone about its new London service.
WestJet's planned schedule for London Gatwick
Calgary: Five weekly flights begin May 6 on Boeing 767 aircraft. Service runs through Oct. 20, 2016.
Edmonton: Two weekly flights begin May 7 on Boeing 767 aircraft. Service runs through Oct. 22, 2016.
Vancouver: Six weekly flights begin May 6 on Boeing 767 aircraft. Service runs through Oct. 21, 2016.
Winnipeg: One weekly flight begins May 7 on Boeing 767 aircraft. Service runs through Oct. 1, 2016.
(Ben Mutzabaugh - USA Today / Today in the Sky)