Pushing Ahead: WestJet Will Have 7 UK Routes Next Summer

WestJet has announced two new non-stop services from Toronto to both Edinburgh and Glasgow. Both begin in summer 2022 (S22) and will bring the carrier’s UK routes to seven next year. Its new Scottish services will be good for strong point-to-point demand and to connect passengers across Canada and beyond.

WestJet MAX 8
WestJet has 14 Boeing 737 MAXs and will use them on four of its seven UK routes next summer. Photo: Ken Fielding via Flickr.

WestJet from Toronto to Scotland

Taking off on May 20th will be WestJet’s inaugural service to Glasgow, followed a couple of weeks later by Edinburgh on June 2nd. Both will be long enough to fall into the longest 737 routes list. The 174-seat Boeing 737 MAX 8 will operate the services; they have 162 seats in economy and 12 in business.

• WS16: Toronto-Edinburgh at 21:25 on Tues, Thu, Sat, arriving the next morning at 09:05
• WS17: Edinburgh-Toronto at 10:25 on Wed, Fri, Sun, arriving at 12:42
• WS48: Toronto-Glasgow at 21:40 on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun, arriving the next day at 09:10
• WS49: Glasgow-Toronto at 10:30 on Mon, Tues, Thu, Sat, arriving at 12:35

WestJet Glasgow
It feels a long time ago, but WestJet has served Glasgow since 2015. Photo: Glasgow Airport.

Seven WestJet routes to the UK next summer

The Canadian airline began Toronto-Halifax-Glasgow in 2015 using the B737-700, and it often operated seven-weekly. The Halifax-Glasgow part still exists and will operate four-weekly in S22. Combined with four-weekly from Toronto, WestJet will have more flights to Glasgow than ever before.

The coming new routes bring to seven WestJet’s S22 network to the UK (so far), encompassing Edinburgh and Glasgow to Toronto, Glasgow to Halifax, and Gatwick to Calgary, Halifax, Toronto, and Vancouver. It also had seven in S19, with Edmonton and Winnipeg to Gatwick no longer operating.

WestJet to the UK in S22
These are WestJet’s UK routes in S22. At 2,631 miles, its shortest route is Halifax (YHZ) to Glasgow, shorter than Boston to San Francisco. Image: GCMap.

Edinburgh and Glasgow to Toronto

In 2019, Glasgow-Toronto had 117,000 round-trip seats, three times more than Edinburgh, OAG schedules information confirms. The Scottish capital, meanwhile, attracted an average fare approximately 47% higher, booking data suggests.

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All of this was before COVID. And since then, Air Canada ended Glasgow to consolidate at Edinburgh, at which it has been the sole operator to Toronto. This move means that Glasgow lost 25,000 Toronto seats (based on 2019 numbers) with, until now, only Air Transat linking Canada and Scotland’s largest cities.

Scotland non-stop to Toronto area
Glasgow has always been a much bigger market. Source of data: OAG.

Why will WestJet serve both Scottish airports?

The above helps us to understand why WestJet is to serve both Scottish airports. It could have decided to operate once-daily to either Edinburgh or Glasgow, which would likely have reduced costs and complexity and consolidated marketing efforts. However, it would also have increased risk by focusing on one market while putting all of its eggs in one basket.

In any case, WestJet generally doesn’t launch a long-haul offering with a once-daily service from the get-go. Instead, it builds up over time. Its split schedule reflects this and enables it to target both markets and their competitive profiles more effectively.

WestJet MAX
Will WestJet add another UK airport? Photo: Mackenzie Cole via Flickr.

A long history and multiple airlines

Air Transat served Edinburgh from Toronto until 2009, when it consolidated at Glasgow and expanded. Meanwhile, Air Canada launched the Scottish capital in 2013, with the route mainly operated by Rouge, although it is now back in Air Canada’s own hands. But it Glasgow that has seen multiple carriers:

  • Air Transat has operated for many years
  • Air Canada until 2005, returning with its Rouge subsidiary from 2016 (notice it began Edinburgh in 2013 when it wasn’t serving Glasgow)
  • Zoom until 2008
  • Flyglobespan to Pearson for a few months in 2007 before shifting to the alternative airport, Hamilton
  • Thomas Cook between 2008 and 2011
  • Sunwing in 2012 (using a 300-seat B767-300ER)

What are your thoughts on this latest development by WestJet? Let us know in the comments.