Canadian airline WestJet’s inaugural flight from Edinburgh has departed for Toronto as the three weekly service begins.
It’s the first time the airline has operated from the capital, with flights departing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays on a Boeing 737 Max, with the seasonal service running until October.
The non-stop service means famous attractions like the CN Tower, the Distillery District and Niagara Falls (albeit a wee bit further!) are now just a flight away due to the direct connectivity. It also strengthens Edinburgh’s connectivity to North America, opening up other areas and destinations through hub connections.
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport said: “Welcoming a new airline partner to our airport is always an exciting day and we are delighted to see the WestJet tailfin in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh.
“This new service will open up Canada and Scotland to travellers from both countries, whether that be seeing family and friends for the first time in a while, strengthening business connections with existing and new partners, or just experiencing the fantastic sights and culture that these two amazing cities have to offer.
“North America is one of our strongest markets and we hope that by making a success of this route it demonstrates the desire there is for greater direct connectivity and something we can work towards with our partners.”
John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer said: “We are thrilled that Edinburgh is our final European connection to inaugurate this summer, rounding out the restoration of our network and strengthening our transatlantic offerings as demand for international travel continues to ramp up.
“Seamless connectivity between Europe and Canada is critical to the recovery of the travel and tourism industry and we look forward to welcoming our global guests on board this summer as we continue to restore our network to pre-pandemic levels.”
Minster for Transport Jenny Gilruth said: “I welcome the launch of WestJet’s new service between Edinburgh and Toronto, which is real demonstration of confidence in the Scottish aviation market, as well as another significant milestone in the recovery of our international connectivity.
“Canada is a very important market to us when it comes to tourism and business, and this is also great news for passengers in Scotland who now have another option to connect directly to Toronto.
“The aviation industry has been severely impacted by COVID-19, so I’m pleased to see these signs of connectivity recovering given the vital role the sector plays in our economy. I wish Edinburgh Airport and WestJet every success with this service.”
Denise Hill, Head of Engagement VisitScotland said: “Congratulations to Edinburgh Airport and WestJet on today’s inaugural flight which is warmly welcomed by Scotland’s tourism industry.
“Canada has long been one of our top international markets for visitors. We have worked hard to keep Scotland top of mind among Canadian travellers, and the return of direct connectivity -and in this case, new and additional capacity from Toronto- is vital in supporting the recovery of our industry post pandemic.
“VisitScotland enjoys a very positive partnership with WestJet, and the extension of their network demonstrates real confidence in Scotland as a destination. We look forward to continuing to work closely with them and Edinburgh Airport to support this new service.
“There has been considerable pent-up demand among Canadians hoping to travel to Scotland- not least those with family and friends here. With WestJet now serving the capital, Scotland is more accessible than ever. Our message and that of the Scottish tourism industry is simple, Scotland is ready and can’t wait to welcome back Canadian visitors.”