WestJet Airlines Ltd. announced that it would be adding 11 new domestic routes across Western Canada starting June in a push towards its COVID-19 recovery.

The airline will be offering nonstop service to 15 communities in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, according to a news release issued Friday.

New service routes would connect: Toronto’s Pearson Airport to Vancouver Island Airport; Ottawa International Airport to Victoria International Airport; prairie provinces to tourism destinations in British Columbia through eight new routes.

This follows an announcement made earlier in the week that services would be restored to Atlantic Canada and Quebec City.

"As we look to the coming months with cautious optimism, we know our restart agenda will be pivotal to Canada's economic recovery," WestJet President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Sims said in a statement. "Stimulating air travel benefits all Canadians and supports those hardest hit; with one in every 10 Canadian jobs tied to travel and tourism, the ripple effect benefits our whole country." 

Sims further explained that the industry is at an “inflection point” with vaccines and travel precautions. Sims also strongly encouraged Canadians to travel within their own country to support the economy.

"If Canadians were to shift two-thirds of their planned international-leisure travel spend towards domestic tourism, it would help sustain 150,000 jobs and accelerate recovery by one year, all while seeing what Canada has to offer," he said.

The airline industry has been deeply impacted by global travel interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting WestJet to cut the equivalent of 1,000 jobs and imposing a hiring freeze. The company also reported a more than 80 per cent plunge in seat capacity through January and February.

New routes include:

Toronto – Fort McMurray  2x weekly (Wed, Sun)  June 6, 2021 
Kelowna – Saskatoon  2x weekly (Thu, Sun)  June 24, 2021 
Kelowna – Regina  2x weekly (Thu, Sun)  June 24, 2021 
Saskatoon – Victoria  2x weekly (Thu, Sun)  June 24, 2021 
Winnipeg – Victoria  3x weekly (Thu, Sat, Sun)  June 24, 2021 
Edmonton – Kamloops  2x weekly (Thu, Sun)  June 24, 2021 
Edmonton – Penticton  2x weekly (Thu, Sun)  June 24, 2021 
Edmonton – Nanaimo  2x weekly (Fri, Sun)  June 25, 2021 
Prince George – Abbotsford  2x weekly (Fri, Sun)  June 25, 2021 
Ottawa – Victoria  1x weekly (Sat)  June 26, 2021 
Toronto – Comox  1x weekly (Sat)  June 26, 2021