Calgary-based airline WestJet will fly direct to London, England, from six Canadian cities starting in spring 2016.
The airline will offer flights to Gatwick airport from Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and St. John's. All in all, there will be 28 flights a week on the the airline's new 767s.
During peak periods from early May to early October, Vancouver service will operate six times weekly, Edmonton will operate twice weekly, Calgary five times weekly and Winnipeg once weekly. Flights from Toronto and St. John's will operate once daily.
Price war coming?
"This is going to be happy happy times for consumers because in a lot of markets there will be substantial competition," airline industry consultant Robert Kokonis from AirTrav said in an interview.
He said the move will likely kick off a price war, which is great news for travellers.
Currently, Air Canada and British Airways fly direct between Heathrow and Toronto, and Air Transat services Gatwick. With WestJet moving to also serve Gatwick and Air Canada's discount carrier Rouge announcing plans to do the same soon, that means there will be at least five different airlines flying between Toronto and the London area every day: a clear win for consumers.
"Who's going to win? Likely who's got the lowest cost structure is going to come out smelling best," Kokonis said, adding the plan is especially good news for Winnipeg, as that city currently has no direct flights to the U.K. at the moment.
The move is a major signpost for the company, as it represents WestJet's first transatlantic crossings with its newer, wide-body airplanes. For much of its 20-year history, WestJet's fleet was almost entirely 737s, which aren't optimized for long-haul flights such as those from parts of Central and Western Canada to Europe. But new 767s and other planes on the way are able to handle longer flights more efficiently.
Depending on the city, a one-way ticket will cost between $199 and $299, with all taxes included, the airline said in a release.
A previous version of this story incorrectly reported WestJet would fly 28 flights a day to Gatwick. The airline will make 28 flights a week to the London airport.Sep 15, 2015 2:06 PM ET