MONTREAL — WestJet Airlines Ltd. is expanding its global network by adding its first flights to mainland Europe.
The Calgary-based airline announced Monday that daily direct flights will begin May 31 to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris from Halifax Stanfield International Airport. That’s on top of a new route between Halifax and Gatwick Airport in London that gets underway April 29.
WestJet’s foray to Europe began in the summer of 2014 when it launched seasonal service between St. John’s, N.L., and Dublin.
It added Glasgow the next year from Halifax and began flights to London by adding Gatwick in 2016.
The Halifax routes will be flown by its new Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft.
“Venturing to London and now Paris is an indication of our ambitious growth plans as we move towards becoming a global network carrier,” stated Ed Sims, WestJet executive vice-president commercial.
Political officials from Nova Scotia, including federal MP Scott Brison, said the additional transatlantic flights will help the regional tourism industry and strengthen the economic and social connections to Europe.
“Nova Scotia has a growing economy and this connection is a tremendous opportunity to enhance trade and investment relationships, strengthen cultural ties and promote Nova Scotia as a great place to live, study and visit,” said Minister Geoff MacLellan.
WestJet has four wide-body 767s but has yet to announce routes for the large planes. It also expects delivery of 787 Dreamliners to begin early in 2019.
The airline last year ordered 10 long-haul Dreamliners to be delivered through the end of 2021. It also has an option to buy 10 more of the fuel-efficient planes to be delivered between 2020 and 2024.
It will soon announce destinations for its new ultra low cost carrier Swoop, that is slated to begin flying this summer.
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Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
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