WestJet deal taxiing for take off

Contract with WestJet Encore to bring direct-to-Calgary flights to Penticton is nearly complete

The contract with WestJet Encore to bring direct-to-Calgary flights to Penticton airport is nearly complete, according to Penticton’s Economic Development Officer.

“We’re negotiating on some of the finer points of the deal. Certainly we had an agreement in principle on how we wanted to move forward,” said Colleen Pennington.

However, work going on at city hall isn’t just about hashing out the WestJet contract details. Pennington said they are also working to make sure the flights will be a success when they start in late October.

“The thing we are really investigating is how to do we make it into a robust winter season. Given the Oct. 26 start date, it’s always been something I worried about,” she said. “As important as getting the contract done is making sure that we take this opportunity to try to turn around the season from a couple of months summer season into a full winter season with activities throughout all the months.”

Pennington said she has been talking to stakeholders throughout the South Okanagan from Apex to Osoyoos gathering up a list of events that happen in the winter.

Many destinations, she said, have responded enthusiastically to having Calgary to South Okanagan flights, with some even planning new winter events to attract visitors.

“Some people have been very proactive, contacting WestJet directly and working with them on an event they want to host. It’s  been a really positive experience across the region in terms of how people want to participate.” said Pennington.

Apex Mountain has events planned for November, and some wineries already have Christmas activities planned, according to Pennington. The expanded connections through Penticton airport should also make the South Okanagan more attractive to snowbirds.

“If you think about the snowbird crowd, if you want to stay in the Canadian health care system, the Okanagan is probably one of the more pleasant places you can come for a winter getaway,” said Pennington.

Another factor, she said, is getting the word out about the new flights, noting that one early campaign came from a chance encounter with a visitor from Alberta. He suggested that with a sizable number of tourists already in town, now was the time to get billboards up letting people know there are going to be direct flights starting in the fall.

WestJet was happy to endorse the campaign, said Pennington.

“The turnaround time is pretty exceptional for a company of their size,” she said. “Within a day, we had a response that they agreed it was a good idea. They are just amazing how quickly they can come up with an idea and get it out there.”

 

Just Posted

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

Rob and Anthony are the city’s new parking ambassadors who are sharing information with businesses and the public about the new pay parking. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Penticton hires team to inform people on city’s new pay parking system

The pair will spend at least a month helping businesses and residents navigate new pay parking system

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
UPDATE: Fire above Naramata is an illegal open burn

Smoke is still billowing from the blaze Friday morning

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Fanny Chapman doesn’t just serve up Mexican flavours at the Kal Lake Food concession at Kal Beach, she also teaches Spanish. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernonites asked to share funniest Spanish translation stories

Mexicans living in town holding a contest to offer free Spanish classes

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

A search for David Borden in Oyama, ended after he was found Friday, June 18. (Contributed)
UPDATE: Missing Okanagan man found

Family thanks Facebook community for finding Lake Country man

Canadian blues sensation Colin James will close down Saturday night, Aug. 14 of the 2021 digital Salmon Arm Roots Blues Festival. (Black Press Media file photo)
Salmon Arm’s Roots & Blues Festival returns online after 2020 success

Nine acts, including Colin James, Caleigh Cardinal, to perform on festival website Aug. 13 and 14.

Most Read