We're taking baby steps while remaining agile during pandemic: Swoop airline president
Discount airline company Swoop is gearing up for the peak summer travel season by adding more routes to three cities in British Columbia, starting in May.
The WestJet Airlines Ltd. subsidiary’s summer operation includes new service to Victoria and returning routes from Kelowna. Abbotsford will also be included as additional B.C. routes from Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba, the company said in a statement. It also hinted at more route re-openings to come.
“It’s really getting us back on track with what we had planned to do before COVID,” Charles Duncan, president of Swoop, said in a television interview. “We had announced our intention to enter Victoria back in 2020 and unfortunately we weren’t able to do that.”
Swoop had postponed service to Victoria due to the pandemic, the company said. Duncan added other service interruptions left capacity levels down 90 per cent from pre-pandemic times.
Duncan also pointed out further turbulence among Canadian airlines with foreign competitors in Canada who have received sector aid from their own governments.
“Canada, we’ve gotten nothing beyond the wage subsidies,” Duncan said. “But nothing that’s been sector-specific.”
Despite the challenges in lining up aid for the airline sector, Duncan remained optimistic the vaccine roll-out and pent-up demand for travel would boost Swoop’s performance, starting with these route re-openings.
“This is almost a baby step, but a first and very important step and positive news for the first time for us in terms of seeing a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel and some rays of hope,” he said.
Swoop’s new routes include:
Planned Network Service
|Route||Frequency||Planned Start Date|
|Toronto – Victoria||Up to 6x weekly||May 20, 2021|
|Edmonton – Victoria||Up to 7x weekly||May 20, 2021|
|Hamilton – Kelowna||Up to 6x weekly||June 20, 2021|
|Winnipeg – Kelowna||Up to 3x weekly||June 20, 2021|
Additional B.C. Network Service
|Abbotsford – Edmonton||Up to 21x weekly|
|Abbotsford – Hamilton||Up to 7x weekly|
|Abbotsford – Toronto||Up to 7x weekly|
|Abbotsford – Winnipeg||Up to 7x weekly|
|Kelowna – Toronto||Up to 7x weekly|