The busy Atlantic seaport of Halifax is the capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia which has strong historic and cultural links with Scotland. In recognition of the close ties, WestJet has numbered the Glasgow flight WS 30 in honour of St Andrew’s Day which falls on 30 November.
The inaugural non-stop flight will depart Glasgow on 30 May 2015 and will fly daily until 24 October 2015. The route will have a journey time of five hours 15 minutes and will be operated by one of the airline’s Boeing Next-Generation 737-700 series aircraft which has 136 seats.
Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “This is fantastic news for Glasgow Airport and for Scotland. WestJet is an ambitious airline with an extensive route network and we’re delighted it has chosen Glasgow as its first ever UK destination. Scotland has always enjoyed a close relationship with Canada and not only will the daily service to Halifax provide our customers with greater choice, it will further strengthen our long haul connectivity.
“This announcement underlines our commitment to delivering the routes and services our customers demand and we are looking forward to welcoming WestJet to Glasgow.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “WestJet’s new route from Halifax is a major boost for Glasgow, providing the perfect opportunity to strengthen cultural and business links between both cities. There will undoubtedly be strong demand for this service, which has huge potential to deliver significant inbound leisure tourism.
“Canada is Glasgow’s second largest international market with 37,000 trips made each year by Canadian visitors who generate £12 million for the city’s economy.
“Glasgow City Marketing Bureau has a strong relationship with Halifax Stanfield International Airport and has been working closely with WestJet in recent months to progress a joint marketing campaign in Halifax geared at highlighting the ease of access to Glasgow for visitors from the eastern seaboard. Glasgow is constantly striving to improve its air links and connect the city to the global marketplace. We’re looking forward to working with WestJet to ensure the success of this route.”
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “I warmly welcome the announcement of this new route between Scotland and Canada, which will provide a boost to tourism and business on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Our two countries have close cultural and historic ties and this new service between Glasgow and Halifax will help strengthen these important bonds. I outlined the benefits of establishing routes like this when I met with representatives of Halifax Stanfield International Airport during my visit to Canada last year and I’m sure it will prove popular and successful.
“We could attract more direct flights to Scotland by cutting rates of Air Passenger Duty, something that we don’t currently have the power to do but which has wide support in the aviation industry. I look forward to welcoming the first Canadian visitors to Scotland when the service takes off next Summer.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “Canada and Nova Scotia in particular represent an exciting diaspora stronghold and a fantastic opportunity for Scottish tourism. Some 4.7 million Canadians have Scottish ancestry, with 24% of them wanting to visit Scotland in search of those roots. The new WestJet route from Halifax to Glasgow presents a sizeable opportunity for the tourism industry in Scotland to tap into an ancestral market worth up to £450 million over the next five years.
“Working closely with WestJet and the airports of Halifax and Glasgow International, we are delighted to help launch a service in 2015 which will support the delivery of a strong legacy from this year’s Homecoming, Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup celebrations – all of which have generated huge interest among Canadian travellers. With the reach of WestJet’s connecting network we look forward from May 2015 to welcoming many more of our Canadian friends from Halifax and beyond.”
Passenger will be able to access connections to Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and 16 other cities in WestJet’s Canadian network. Flights will go on sale on Friday 3 October through www.westjet.com or local travel agents.