By Benjamin Pham
WestJet, KLM Expand Codeshare To Prepare For International Travel
The summer travel season has reached its peak, and several countries already reopened their borders with relaxed entry requirements and have eased Covid-19 mandates. As a result, several major airlines have revived key routes and unveiled new flight operations to recapture as much of the market as possible since the ongoing surge in passengers traveling continues to rise. While Canada prepares for its border reopening, Westjet – Canada’s second-largest airline – used this time period and opportunity to prepare for providing more connectivity this summer and fall.
On Monday, the Calgary-based carrier announced an expansion of its codeshare with KLM – the Dutch flag carrier and prominent SkyTeam member – on flights to and from Amsterdam across Europe. In addition, the airline unveiled its upcoming inaugural service to the Dutch capital city starting Aug. 5, enabling one of the airline’s main operating hubs in Western Canada to revive international travel.
“Through this expanded codeshare relationship with KLM, our guests will benefit from new opportunities to travel between Europe and Canada,” John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer, said. “Our Dreamliner service to Amsterdam combined with convenient connections on a world-class partner like KLM is an exciting step as we work to support the safe restart of international travel.”
Flights to and from Amsterdam will fly from Aug. 5 through Sept. 6 with two weekly flights, followed by three flights a week from Sept. 9 through Nov. 1. WestJet plans to use the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is its long-haul powerhouse in the fleet.
“This is an exciting development for inbound travel and tourism to Alberta from key European markets via Amsterdam, “David Goldstein, CEO, Travel Alberta, said. “Rebuilding these targeted international air links is critical to the province’s economic recovery. We look forward to working with WestJet to re-establish Alberta’s competitiveness as a business and leisure destination emerging from the pandemic.”
WestJet is increasing connectivity and possibilities in the region of Western Canada and continues to reconnect Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, which are three of its key operating bases in the region, to cities across Canada. While WestJet begins its domestic flight resumptions this summer, Air Canada has also resumed flights across the country and began international flights to Europe earlier this month while resuming flights to key cities.
Additionally, Air Canada, WestJet’s biggest rival and Canada’s largest carrier, is preparing itself for the country’s upcoming border reopening with the United States. The notable Star Alliance plans to resume flight operations between the two nations, offering up to 220 daily flights in its transborder schedule.
“The easing of travel restrictions announced today by the federal government is an important step based on science, and we are very pleased to rebuild our Canada-U.S. network. Canada and the United States share close ties and restoring air connectivity will contribute to both countries’ economic recovery,” Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President FOR Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada, said. “Air Canada’s proud tradition of being the largest foreign carrier in the U.S. is reflected in our schedule which has been developed to provide a wide range of choices for customers in both countries, appealing to Canadian customers interested in traveling to popular U.S. destinations, and to U.S. residents looking to visit and explore Canada’s spectacular sights and hospitality,” a philosophy accurately described by the airline’s decision to ramp up flight operations and inject hundreds of seats into a playing field where two major airlines are vying to overcome one another.
WestJet calls the province of Alberta its home, as Calgary is its major hub and base. As the carrier starts to offer more connectivity and revive its transatlantic operations, Air Canada is the largest obstacle to overcome as it seeks to re-establish the province as a major entry point for business and leisure into the country for international travelers.