February 12, 2013 - 10:42 AM
By Shannon Quesnel
Penticton Regional Airport was left off the flight manifest according to the latest WestJet-Encore announcement, Monday.
The local airport was not on a list of new cities to be serviced by WestJet's Encore fleet. For now there will be non-stop daily service to Fort St. John and Nanaimo. WestJet's Encore fleet of Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft will service the route which also includes flights between Vancouver and Victoria.
WestJet spokesperson Robert Palmer says this is the first announcement of new cities being connected by Encore.
“We had 30 communities come to us in Calgary (in 2012) to pitch us why WestJet should service their communities. There is no possible way to service (all those) communities, especially right off the bat.”
WestJet will add seven new planes to their fleet by the end of 2013. New communities will be announced at a later time.
“We can't serve more than a couple of communities off the top.”
Palmer says more planes will be coming online over the next six years.
WestJet Encore will take delivery of its first two Canadian-built, 78-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft in June 2013 and add five more by the end of the year. WestJet has firm orders for a total of 20 Q400s and options for an additional 25 over the next six years.
"We are just getting started," said Ferio Pugliese, president of WestJet-Encore. "The communities that are not part of today's announcement continue to be under consideration as we take delivery of additional aircraft later this year."
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)488-3065.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013