WestJet Plans New US West Coast Route

It is hoped the new service will help to strengthen Winnipeg’s growing film and TV industry. 

Credit: Joe Pries

Canada’s WestJet will connect Winnipeg (YWG) and Los Angeles (LAX) with three nonstop flights per week from October, becoming the sole carrier to offer direct service between the destinations.

Flights between the cities will operate on a year-round basis from Oct. 31 on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. The route will be the airline’s fifth to the Californian airport alongside service from Calgary (YYC), Edmonton (YEG), Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and Vancouver (YVR).

“Despite being one of Winnipeg’s largest international air travel markets, there has not been non-stop service between Winnipeg and LA, and we are very pleased to be the first to provide this service,” said John Weatherill, WestJet’s executive VP and CCO at a news conference.

WestJet said the 2,475-km (1,336-nm) route would cut travel times between the destinations by a half and help to grow economic ties, citing a boost for businesses in the film and TV industry. In 2021, the film and TV sector brought in C$365 million ($282 million) to the Manitoba economy, of which Winnipeg is the capital.

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The airline added that passengers traveling beyond Los Angeles would have access to flights to 20 US cities with codeshare partner Delta Air Lines.

“This new route significantly enhances our community's connectivity by offering direct service to one of the most iconic cities in the world,” Winnipeg Airports Authority president and CEO Nick Hays said.

“Traffic between Manitoba and Southern California continues to grow, driven in large part by the province's thriving film industry. Now, Winnipeg is just one flight away from the bright lights of Los Angeles, making it so much easier for movie executives, actors, and others working in the sector to travel to the two cities.”

During the northern winter 2022/23 season, WestJet and subsidiary Swoop plan to serve 22 destinations from Winnipeg, offering 80% more capacity than during the same season a year earlier.

OAG Schedules Analyser data for the week commencing Aug. 15 shows that WestJet is the largest carrier by departure seats at YWG with a 39.4% market share. Air Canada has 28.3%, Flair Airlines has 11.8%, Swoop has 9.3% and Lynx Air has 3.4%.