Starting next February, getting from Penticton to Calgary and beyond is going to get a lot easier.
Less than a year after their introduction to the South Okanagan market, Westjet has decided to add a second direct-to-Calgary flight to its Penticton schedule.
David Allen, manager of the Penticton Airport, said the Westjet flight has performed well since it was introduced in Oct. 2014, an observation Westjet spokesman Robert Palmer said the airline has noticed too.
“Air service is like any other commodity. If you use it, and you keep using it, you get more of it,” said Palmer.
Starting Feb. 15, travellers flying out of Penticton will have a choice of the current flight, leaving at 2:55 p.m., or the new flight, leaving at 7 a.m. and arriving in Calgary at 9:09 a.m. Travellers coming to Penticton will be able to book a seat on the new flight leaving Calgary at 8:45 p.m., arriving in town at 9 p.m.
“That 7 a.m. time is excellent for business people. That is an excellent flight time,” said Palmer, who added that both flight times will make it easier for business and leisure travellers to connect with flights going anywhere in the world.
“That is fantastic timing in terms of getting here or people that have second homes here,” said Colleen Pennington, economic development officer for the City of Penticton. “That will mean that all of the connections work much better.”
Pennington said the new flight will allow residents flying home from international destinations through Westjet’s Calgary hub to get here without having to overnight.
Kelly Hopkins, executive director for Tourism Penticton, said the benefit is threefold, making the Calgary connection easier for business travellers, residents travelling to international destinations and international tourists coming here.
“I think it is an unbelievable boost of confidence for the direction that Penticton is going with its tourism and its economic development,” said Hopkins. “A lot of people have worked hard to bring the tourism to this level as well as economic development.”
The reason it won’t start until next February, said Palmer, is they will have to wait until then for a new aircraft to be delivered.