Regina International Airport can now look ahead to what is forecasted to be a very busy summer season after an agreement was reached between WestJet pilots and their employers on Thursday night.
If a deal wasn’t reached pilots would have gone on strike, causing hundreds of flights to be cancelled across Canada.
Prior to the strike notice on Monday, Justin Reves, the Director of Revenue Development, Public Relations, and Customer Experience for the Regina Airport Authority said that they were forecasting their best summer since 2019.
“Our capacity was going to 93 per cent of what it was in 2019, which is massive, we were stuck around 70 per cent for most of the beginning of the year,” says Reves. “We were seeing a ton of flights all across Canada to major hubs with Air Canada and WestJet.”
On Thursday morning, WestJet began canceling flights in lieu of a Friday morning strike. WestJet announced on Friday that the full resumption of operations will take time and they encouraged travelers to continue to check their flight status before heading to the airport.
Now with an agreement reached, Reves said that the airport is now looking ahead to what’s to come this summer.
He mentions there will be some added flights this summer to popular Canadian destinations.
“Kelowna with WestJet is back for the second time this summer on Thursdays and Sundays. Air Canada is returning to daily service to Montreal starting in June. As well, Toronto and Vancouver with Air Canada actually putting on more capacity to Toronto and Vancouver than we had in 2019,” adds Reves.
In total, the airport will be offering flights to and from seven Canadian cities between both WestJet and Air Canada.
When it comes to those low-budget airlines such as Swoop, Flair, Canadian Jetlines, and Lynx that have made appearances in Regina before, Reves notes that they have been in continuous communications to try bringing them back.
“They’re trying to figure out the Canadian market. It has been around for a long time in places like Europe and a little bit longer in the United States. There are a lot of new companies in Canada in this space and they’re trying to figure it out.”
The airport has had Flair to Regina twice and Swoop once, which is promising that they will be back, but Reves says it probably won’t be this summer.
Destinations between the two low-cost airlines were Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.
Besides the added flights and destinations, Reves notes that those traveling to and from Regina this summer will notice some additions within the airport.
“We moved and relocated Brioche Doree and a brand-new seating area for the restaurant by the windows overlooking the tarmac. We have expanded seating capacity and have added some new styles of seating in new places. We’re in a really good position to welcome back travelers and we’re excited for people to come back.”
The airport offers daily service to Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg.