Wednesday, November 21, 2012

West Jet Encore hopes to "liberate" Canadians from the high cost of air travel

West Jet has yet to announce the destinations for the debut of their "Encore" service, but when they do, it's anticipated that consumers will be the biggest of winners with added service to under served communities and lower airfares that could spur on some long desired competition.

In a speech in Montreal last week, West Jet's Chief Executive, Gregg Saretsky suggested that airfares at half the cost of the current charge could be in the future for communities that make the Encore cut.

As we outlined on the blog back in October, Prince Rupert was among a number of Western Canadian communities that lobbied the airline to set up shop in the community, Terrace as well sent a delegation to Calgary to meet with West Jet official in a hope to bring the airline to the Northwest.

Prince Rupert is currently served by Air Canada Express and Hawkair, both airlines fly out of the Digby Island Airport. The prospect of more flights and lower charges, will be a welcome part of the travel agenda for Northwest residents and would be a major boost to the airport(s) that host the West Jet's northwest flights.

West Jet is taking the approach of growing markets rather than engaging in a price war with the competition, citing the service that they set up in Comox BC as an example, where upon the introduction of West Jet service, travel to the Central part of Vancouver Island has increased significantly.

It's a process that the airline hopes to replicate in communities across the country.

The airline recently introduced Ferio Pugliese as West Jet Encore's President, he joined West Jet in 2007 and has been heavily involved in the run up to the launch of the new airline next year.

When they take to the air in the second quarter of 2013, West Jet Encore will be based out of Calgary and use Q400 turbojets as the only airplane in the fleet, once up and running at full strength, it's anticipated that West Jet Encore will employ about 1,800 workers.

The West Jet Encore destination board is expected to be revealed on January 21st, 2013.

Some reviews of the West Jet blue print can be found below.

Montreal Gazette-- West Jet's new regional carrier will drive airfares down, CEO Saretsky says
National Post-- WestJet's new regional carrier Encore aims for mid-June takeoff
Vancouver Sun-- WestJet keeps Encore at home
CBC-- WestJet regional carrier will lower airfares, CEO says

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