WestJet today announced a summer schedule that includes new routes out of Vancouver: to Atlanta, and to Nashville.
The Atlanta route is to run four times weekly, starting May 17, with red-eye flights leaving Vancouver on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 10:25 p.m. and arriving in the capital of Georgia at 6:05 a.m. the next day. The return flights leave Atlanta on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9 a.m. and aim to arrive in Vancouver at 11:23 a.m.
The route is part of WestJet's partnership with Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), which counts Atlanta as one of its hubs.
"We already have a strong codeshare network with WestJet, and extensive reciprocal benefits for our frequent flyers," said Perry Cantarutti, Delta's senior vice-president of alliances and international.
WestJet's Vancouver-Nashville flights launch May 19 and are twice weekly, leaving Vancouver on Mondays and Fridays at 10 a.m., and arriving in the Tennessee hub at 4:19 p.m. The return flights are also on Mondays and Fridays. They leave Nashville at 5:05 p.m. and arrive in Vancouver at 7:55 p.m. That scheduling could be good for those with mid-week business and tourists who want to visit Nashville for an extended weekend.
Another WestJet announcement today was that it will continue to fly non-stop flights between Vancouver and Orlando once per week on Saturdays, as it has been doing during the winter. The flights leave Vancouver at 11 a.m. and aim to arrive in Orlando at 7:54 p.m. Return flights are likely on different planes, given that they are listed as leaving Orlando at 8 p.m. and arriving back in Vancouver at 11:04 p.m.
When WestJet launched those flights in 2015, they were the first non-stop flights between Vancouver and Orlando.
Air Canada does not fly non-stop between Vancouver and Atlanta, Nashville or Orlando.
It had two big route launches out of Vancouver in December.
One was a relaunch of the only other non-stop flight between Vancouver and Florida, to Miami. Air Canada had flown non-stop between Vancouver and Miami until 2004, when it stopped flying the route. No other airline flew regular flights on that route in the 18-year interim.
The airline's biggest news related to its Vancouver hub in December was launching the first ever non-stop commercial flights between Vancouver and Bangkok.
Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah told BIV that her airline plans to resume three other routes out of Vancouver in the coming months. That includes flying three times per week to Austin, Texas starting May 1, flying once daily to Anchorage starting May 1, and flying once daily to Boston, starting June 17.
WestJet's news of new Vancouver routes was part of a larger announcement of 20 new routes and three new destinations throughout its network.
Cantarutti said that a key aspect of WestJet's news for Delta was "increased flights to Delta's hubs in Atlanta and Seattle, as well as new WestJet flights to our hubs in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Detroit. We look forward to growing our partnership, offering new travel and connection options to more customers, and increasing competition."