Canada business travel – competition heats up

…and a lot of the travel will be between Canada and the UK, with at least five airlines soon to be competing hard for passengers on routes to London and other cities in Britain.  

 

This coming spring will be hot…

…and travellers between Canada and the UK will have options as never before. Starting in spring, 2016, WestJet will add dozens of transatlantic flights with wide-body planes.The new service will connect Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton and St. Johns with London’s Gatwick airport. It will add up to a total of 28 new flights a week, with fares from $249.Given the current challenges to the Canadian economy, we asked WestJet’s John Pease why the airline decided to do this now.“We are in an excellent competitive position” he told us, “and our mission at WestJet is to ‘Enrich the lives of everyone in WestJet’s world by providing Safe, Reliable, Caring and Affordable Travel.’ Therefore, expanding into Europe is fundamental to our Mission by providing affordable travel to Canadians.”  

 

Fare war?

The news had airline industry consultant Robert Kokonis telling CBC: “This is going to be happy, happy times for (passengers) because in a lot of markets, there will be substantial competition.” He thinks that competition could be stiff enough to trigger a new fare war. And the numbers suggest he may be right. Right now, Air Canada and British Airways fly direct between Heathrow and Toronto, and Air Transat has service from Gatwick, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester to Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary. With WestJet moving also to serve Gatwick from Canada and Air Canada’s leisure carrier rouge announcing plans to do the same beginning May 19, 2016, there will be at least 5 differentairlines flying between Toronto and London every day.  

 

A clear win for consumers…

…is what CBC calls it. Industry consultant Robert Kokonis says the WestJet announcement is especially good news for Winnipeg, as it currently has no direct flights to the UK right now. Because of a number of factors noted in this Huffington Post Canada article, some of these fares will make, say, a Vancouver to London flight about as cheap as, or cheaper than, flying from Vancouver to Regina.  

 

Business and leisure travel are bright spots…

…in a Canadian economy that’s otherwise in the doldrums, as we noted recently in this blog, so news like this, which will likely bring even more travellers to the airports, is good news indeed for Canadians, whether they travel, or simply do business with people who do.  

 

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