WestJet’s inaugural flight from Dublin to St John’s, Newfoundland, has yet to take off (it will be on 16th June), but the airline has already extended the season from 5th to 25th October – and could be considering a year-round service.
Henry Nizynski, Director – Business Development, told Irish Travel Trade News last night: “Dublin has been the most successful route launch in WestJet’s history. Bookings are outstanding across the season, particularly in July and August. We have extended the end of the summer service from 5th October to 25th October – and from midnight on Tuesday 6th May we have a seat sale of CA$199 – 219 one-way, depending on dates.
“We foresee growth and an expanded schedule for next year and we are looking at a year-round service, reducing from daily to three or four flights a week over the winter.
“The majority of bookings for this summer are ex-St John’s, but the ex-Dublin bookings – which are almost exclusively through the trade – are mainly for the Atlantic seaboard, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, with St John’s and Halifax but also Calgary as the top three destinations – and we have also had some bookings for Vancouver and Alaska cruises.
“Yes, there are a lot of seats ex-Dublin direct to Toronto this summer by three other carriers, but WestJet is different, not only with our 4.5-hour flight to Canada but also with fast Canadian Immigration clearance at St John’s. For those flying on to Toronto the stopover in St John’s is less than one hour, including Immigration, and when they arrive in Toronto they can walk straight out. Direct flights to Toronto can involve Immigration queues from 30 minutes to two hours – particularly if you arrive just after an Emirates A380!
“Much of our ex-St John’s bookings are VFR traffic. There are strong Irish heritage and cultural connections with Newfoundland, which formed part of our decision to choose Dublin. A visit to Ireland involved going west to Toronto and then back east again, but now they can fly direct to Dublin in just 4.5 hours.”