WestJet Link Launches in Cranbrook and Prince George

After months of anticipation, WestJet finally inaugurated WestJet Link on June 20, a new regional airline service in British Columbia flying passengers from the BC cities of Prince George and Cranbrook to WestJet's primary hub in Calgary. The new service also serves Lloydminster, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat in Alberta. 

saab 340b
Copyright Photo: @ace.yyc
WestJet Link flights are operated by Vancouver based Pacific Coastal Airlines with a fleet of 34-seat Saab 340B aircraft. The aircraft feature six seats of WestJet Plus seating, offering passengers a seat at the front of the aircraft, advanced boarding, and two pieces of complimentary checked luggage. 

saab 340b
Copyright Photo: @sam.yyc
The addition of WestJet Link complements WestJet's dominant position at Calgary International Airport, where it offers more flights to more destinations than any other carrier with an average of 147 daily flights to 49 destinations offered by WestJet and WestJet Encore. 

saab 340b
Copyright Photo: @brittneyamber
Meanwhile, Pacific Coastal Airlines expressed excitement over the new opportunities created by joining the WestJet family. "Pacific Coastal Airlines is proud to become part of the WestJet family through the launch of WestJet Link," said Quentin Smith, President of Pacific Coastal Airlines. "This is a great partnership between two Western Canadian airlines that share similar corporate values and a customer-focused approach to doing business."

saab 340b
Copyright Photo: @westjetfan_aa
Service between Calgary and Prince George will operate once daily, while service between Calgary and Cranbrook will be offered three times daily. But this won't be the first time WestJet has offered a direct flight between Prince George and Calgary with WestJet Link being the carrier's third attempt at the route. 

saab 340b
Copyright Photo: Dueck Images/Airliners.net
"The difference in years past is we've had much larger aircraft and we just were not able to fill enough of the seats to make those events profitable," stated WestJet Executive Vice President Charles Duncan in an interview with Prince George Now

Pacific Coastal Airlines will operate the WestJet Link service under a capacity service agreement. It is a common practice used by airlines worldwide to provide larger carriers with smaller aircraft that can serve small to medium sized communities. 

Introductory one-way fares from Cranbrook to Calgary start at $64 plus applicable taxes and surcharges. For the Mayor of Cranbrook, the new service opens up the world to the Kootenays. "This is very exciting news for the City of Cranbook and surrounding communities," said Mayor Lee Pratt. "Residents from the East and West Kootenay have been waiting for years for WestJet connections to Calgary giving access to destinations around the world. We will put concentrated effort into encouraging the public to take advantage of this added service."

saab 340b
Copyright Photo: Cranbrook Daily Townsman
For residents of Prince George, Calgary is one of the airport's most requested destinations. "We are very excited to have non-stop service between Prince George and Calgary again," said John Gibson, President & CEO of the Prince George Airport Authority. "Calgary is the number one unserved market requested by the greater Prince George community." Introductory one-way fares from Prince George to Calgary start at $69 plus applicable taxes and fees.

saab 340b
Copyright Photo: @rickybattallones1995
WestJet was originally planning to launch WestJet Link in early 2018. However, the carrier was forced to postpone plans while Pacific Coastal Airlines worked to put the resources in place to fully meet WestJet's operational requirements. The new Link service will utilize up to 8 aircraft. 

saab 340b
Copyright Photo: @rj.aviation
Meanwhile, although no future expansion plans have been revealed for WestJet Link, there is always speculation as to possible routes the carrier may pick up in the future. On the sidelines of WestJet Encore's Fifth Anniversary in Nanaimo, it was noted that while Encore has had success operating from Nanaimo to Calgary and Vancouver, its flights to Edmonton were cancelled just three months after launch in March 2016. 

westjet encore
Copyright Photo: Kyle Balzer / My PG Now
While no plans exist to restore the route, Charles Duncan noted that WestJet Link may be a possibility for Nanaimo someday. "That might be a way to serve the Nanaimo-Edmonton route," said Duncan. 


Darryl Wilson

I am an avid traveller, freelance writer, and hospitality management professional. I enjoy helping people see the world through travel by sharing my own experiences and knowledge. British Columbia is an amazing place that is just waiting to be explored. #ExploreBC

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