Two Canadian airlines will engage in an aerial battle over Kamloops this fall and winter as WestJet and Air Canada go head-to-head in flights to Vancouver and Calgary.
The Kamloops airport, which rarely sees a decrease in passenger numbers, is getting more flights and bigger aircraft this fall.
WestJet is taking another run at Kamloops-Vancouver air service while Air Canada is beefing up the size of its Dash 8s and adding to its Calgary connection.
Airport operations manager Ed Ratuski said Friday that WestJet’s Vancouver flight is scheduled for mid-mornings starting in late November.
That should be better timing than WestJet’s previous Vancouver-Kamloops flight, which landed in the afternoon and didn’t work well with some destination connections.
WestJet discontinued its previous Vancouver flight in spring 2010.
The flight is part of WestJet’s regionalization with smaller, quieter Q-400 series Dash 8s that seat 78 passengers. WestJet is also moving to two Kamloops-Calgary connections per day from the current one a day, starting on Oct. 27.
Air Canada is resuming its regular post-summer schedule with five daily flights to Vancouver for now, and going to seven flights daily as of Oct. 27, Ratuski said.
But instead of the 36-seat Dash 8s it has used in the past, Air Canada is switching to a 300-series Dash 8 with 50 seats.
“In the market, it’s 100 seats a day with Air Canada, so it’s like another large aircraft,” Ratuski said.
Air Canada is also keeping its two daily Calgary flights, instead of paring back to one a day in winter as it has in the past.
The net result for air travellers should be more competition and better connections to other destinations.