WestJet to go transatlantic with flights to Dublin

Calgary-based WestJet is spreading its wings across the Atlantic for the first time with flights to Dublin.

Calgary-based airline announces daily service from St. John's starting in June

Calgary-based WestJet is going to start offering flights to Dublin next summer. (WestJet)

Calgary-based WestJet is spreading its wings across the Atlantic for the first time with flights to Dublin.

The airline announced on Friday it will start offering daily non-stop service from St. John’s to Ireland's capital next June.

"What this is, really, is an opportunity for us to gain a better understanding of what it's like to operate in Europe," said WestJet spokesperson Robert Palmer.

"Much as we had to do when we first started flying to the United States and the Caribbean. Every region of the world is different, so this offers us the opportunity, a toe in the water if you will, to explore the European market, on a measured basis."

The flights will be aboard WestJet's Boeing Next-Generation 737-700 series aircraft.

Daily same-aircraft flights will also be offered from Toronto with one stop-over, as well as daily flights between Ottawa and St. John's connecting to Dublin, the airline said.

"It's not as far as we can go with our aircraft, in fact this flight is only four hours, 15 minutes, and many of our flights to the Caribbean and Mexico are longer than that. So, the range of the aircraft, that's not an issue," said Palmer.

"This destination is well within the range of the aircraft."

The airline will add connecting flights to Dublin from Ottawa, Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and other cities in the airline’s network.

Robert Kokonis, an airline analyst with Airtrav, said WestJet will be the fourth airline offering direct flights between the two countries.

"It will be a crowded market into Ireland. I don’t think Dublin was chosen for any other reason than it’s a doable flight link from Canada," he said.

Gayle White, a travel agent with Sundial Travel, said she hopes WestJet’s transatlantic foray is the start of many more flights to Europe.

"It really doesn't benefit anybody in the west. We need more direct flights from the west instead of going through Toronto, Ontario, or now St. John's."

One-way flights from St. John’s to Dublin will start at $199.

White said she has already crunched the numbers and found the prices for the new route are similar to the competition, when departing from Calgary.

The service will be seasonal, operating from June 15 to Oct. 5.