Lower-cost airline swoops into Victoria with flights to Edmonton and Toronto

WestJet’s lower-cost airline Swoop is expected to announce that it will expand its summer service offerings, including adding flights from Victoria to ­Edmonton and Toronto.

The airline, which previously announced it was postponing planned operations to Victoria in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will add as many as six flights a week between Victoria and Toronto and seven flights a week between Victoria and Edmonton.

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Swoop will also announce expanded services for Kelowna and Abbotsford.

“Our summer schedule ­expansion is in response to strong advance sales and in anticipation of demand from Canada’s most price-conscious travellers as they look towards the accelerated pace of ­vaccine rollouts across the country,” said Swoop president Charles ­Duncan. “When the time comes for a safe resumption of travel, it will be critical to ensure access to affordable travel exists within our ­borders and Swoop is strategically ­positioned to meet that need in ­British Columbia and across the ­country.”

Paul Nursey, chief executive of Destination Greater ­Victoria, said reliable transportation to and from the Island is vital to the success of the visitor ­economy.

“There are other benefits to a low-cost carrier like Swoop entering market as well. It means Greater Victoria becomes an option for visitors that might not have considered air travel without ultra-low cost carrier options,” he said.

Nursey noted lower-cost ­carriers “can really move the market” and will mean strong competition for the ­existing Victoria-to-Toronto ­service.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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