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Wow: Half Of WestJet’s Europe Routes See The Boeing 737 MAX

Canada’s WestJet has 14 bookable routes to Europe next summer, exactly half by the B737 MAX 8 and the other half by the B787-9. However, that will change when a 15th route – Calgary to London Heathrow – takes off in the spring using the B787.

WestJet MAX 8
The UK and Ireland have three-quarters of WestJet’s Europe flights next summer, helped by new routes by the B737 MAX. Photo: Acefitt via Wikimedia.

WestJet to Europe next summer

The carrier’s 14 bookable routes include five from Toronto, four from Calgary, four from Halifax, and one from Vancouver, based on schedules from Cirium. Calgary to Heathrow will mean that Alberta’s main airport – WestJet’s ‘spiritual’ home and busiest airport – will have the most European links from the airline.

Following two washout summers because of entry restrictions, WestJet’s Europe offering will be significantly stronger next summer than S19. It expects 3,558 round-trip flights (before Heathrow is included), up by nearly half (46%).

Part of this is from new routes. After Calgary to Amsterdam took off three months ago, Toronto to Dublin, Edinburgh, and Glasgow are all coming along with Calgary to Rome Fiumicino. And most incumbent routes have more flights than previously.

WestJet's Europe network in summer 2022
When writing, the MAX 8 (shown in blue) and the B787-9 (yellow) have seven routes each to Europe next summer. The widebody will take the lead when Calgary-Heathrow begins. Image: GCMap.

WestJet is coming to Heathrow

The airline’s intention to serve Heathrow was made public when it applied for and received slots. According to Airport Coordination Limited (ACL) ‘s summer 2022 Initial Coordination Report, it has received 248 slot-pairs for next summer.

If split over each summer week and two directions, that’s good for a four-weekly service, although we don’t yet know when it’ll begin. It has intended to serve Heathrow for a while – it received slots for S21 but understandably didn’t use them – and it appears that Heathrow-Calgary will supplement its existing Calgary-Gatwick.

When writing, Heathrow doesn’t appear in the schedules and isn’t bookable, but expect that to change in the coming days or weeks. However, WestJet has confirmed Heathrow, with its CEO, John Weatherill, commenting that:

“As the airline with the most flights from Alberta, this is an important recovery milestone as we forge new connections between Canada and one of the world’s most sought-after global hubs.”

WestJet Heathrow ACL screenshot
In its application, WestJet put ‘ZZF’, meaning it didn’t want to disclose the Canadian city. Image: ACL.

Calgary to London

Calgary to London is a large point-to-point (P2P) market, with approximately 253,000 round-trip passengers in 2019, booking data indicates. It’s the third-largest Canada-UK city-pair after Toronto-London and Vancouver-London.

WestJet B787
Unless Air Canada ups capacity or British Airways reenters, WestJet will be the largest airline between Calgary and London in S22. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Two airlines have exited the market

After Air Transat ceased Calgary-Gatwick in September 2019 and British Airways ended it from Heathrow in March 2020, Calgary-London is now in the hands of Air Canada and WestJet. WestJet has capitalized on the exit of the two carriers, which in 2019 had 126,000 seats between them and a one-quarter share of the market, Cirium indicates.

Next summer, Air Canada will have a daily Heathrow service using 298-seat B787-9s, while WestJet will have a daily offer to Gatwick using 320-seat B787-9s, along with coming Heathrow. However, might BA be returning? Slot filings suggest that it might be, but it may simply use them for other routes.

What do you make of WestJet serving Heathrow? Share your thoughts by commenting.

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