More summer flights coming, travel bookings seeing spike

Air travel into and from Manitoba is on the mend as one Canadian company is restoring flights to a near pre-pandemic level, leading to a spike in travel bookings.

WestJet announced its summer schedule for 2022 on Monday noting it is restoring 94 per cent of its pre-pandemic routes across the country.

“This summer, we know Manitobans are ready to welcome visitors and travel again themselves,” said John Weatherill, the chief commercial officer of WestJet. “Our service is critical to restoring the pipeline of western Canadians who visit Manitoba for both business or leisure and we are committed to working together with our partners to expedite the region’s recovery.”

As a part of the summer schedule, WestJet said it is increasing connectivity to several domestic locations, including six flights daily to Calgary, five flights daily to Regina and other daily flights to places like Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton. There will also be weekly flights to Halifax, Ottawa and Regina.

WestJet said it will also have a flight going from Winnipeg to Las Vegas twice a week.

“Air connectivity is crucial to Manitoba’s long-term recovery and our government is committed to working collaboratively with our economic development partners, business and industry leaders, like WestJet, to promote Manitoba as a vibrant place to live, work, visit and do business in ,” said Prime Minister Heather Stefanson at a news conference on Monday.

WestJet also announced on Sunday several overseas destinations will have increased traffic from major Canadian cities, like Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

Those destinations include Rome, Paris, Dublin, and London to name a few.

Susan Postma, a regional manager with CAA Manitoba, said more Manitobans are looking for spring and summer trips.

“We are seeing quite an uptick in inquiries, appointments. People certainly do seem interested in getting travel underway,” said Postma, adding bookings are not at pre-pandemic levels just yet.

She said announcements like WestJet’s summer schedule being released will bring even more people to start booking trips domestically and abroad.

“We certainly, even with the pandemic and pre-pandemic, have seen a strong domestic presence. People are still really traveling domestically, we expect to see that continue more. I think the interest to really go on a bucket list trip or go on a vacation or connect with family, people are really looking to put those plans into play.”

Postma said it is important for people to understand and ask questions about travel rules, such as testing requirements, not only for Canada, but the country that people plan on going to.

As spring break approaches, Postma said one of the popular destinations being booked right now is Disney World in Florida as well as Mexico.

“There has certainly been some inquiries for cruising and even some international travel. So it’s really sort of slowly rolling further and further as far as where people are looking to go.”

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