Air Canada, WestJet digging into their key domestic markets: report

Air Canada, WestJet digging into their key domestic markets: report

TORONTO — An analysis of Canadian routes offered by Air Canada and WestJet suggests the two carriers are digging into their key domestic markets – Air Canada in the east, and WestJet in the west.

The CBC report includes lists of domestic route cuts by the two carriers, comparing the first quarter of 2019 with the first quarter of 2023.

The report outlines Air Canada’s route cuts in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan, compared to 2019.

It also looks at WestJet’s focus on western Canada, something the airline itself has made clear.

In October 2022 WestJet announced its plans to designate Calgary International Airport as its single global connecting hub, with an eye to concentrating all of its intercontinental 787 Dreamliner flying in Calgary. The move unlocks opportunities for more international routes for WestJet, including Tokyo flights starting in April 2023 from YYC.

While that announcement came at the same time that WestJet said it planned to grow its network across other Canadian communities, strengthening its footprint in the east and in leisure travel across the entire country, WestJet’s CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech made it clear in June 2022 that WestJet had decided to focus its future investments on Western Canada, where it has a large portion of the market share and enjoys a reputation as the “home-team carrier.” A few months later WestJet announced it was suspending flights between Halifax and Montreal effective October 2022, and from Halifax to Ottawa and St. John’s starting in January 2023.