Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar and Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) welcomes today’s announcement by the Canadian airline WestJet that it will begin a new daily Dublin-Newfoundland summer service from next June.
The new route, which will operate from June to October, is WestJet’s first European destination. Canadian carrier WestJet flies to 87 destinations in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Dublin is its first Transatlantic route.
The WestJet announcement means Dublin Airport will have four new Transatlantic services next summer, bringing the total number of North American destinations served from Dublin to 13.
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said the new WestJet service will bring extra visitors to Ireland next summer and strengthen the already close links between Ireland and Newfoundland.
“This new WestJet service from St John’s Airport in Newfoundland to Dublin is fantastic news and I wish the airline every success with its first Transatlantic venture. It’s great for tourism and for trade between our two countries. I travelled to Newfoundland as part of a tourism and trade mission and there are very strong cultural and diaspora links between Ireland and the province.”
DAA Chief Executive Kevin Toland said he was delighted that WestJet had selected Dublin as its first European destination. “It’s always exciting to welcome a new airline partner to Dublin and to Ireland and our entire team at Dublin Airport will work closely with WestJet to grow and promote this new service.”
Mr Toland added that the new long-haul and short-haul routes that have already been announced for next year would deliver another strong year of growth at Dublin Airport in 2014.
“We have added one million extra passengers over the past 12 months with significant growth in long-haul traffic to both North America and the Middle East. The new routes and expansions for next year already announced by customers such as WestJet, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Norwegian and Air Canada Rouge will continue and strengthen our recent growth phase.”
WestJet’s Vice-President, Network Planning, Alliances and Corporate Development, Chris Avery said it was “an exciting time” for the airline “as we bring our unique brand of low fares and award-winning guest experience to a whole new market”.
The new WestJet service will operate daily from June 15 until October 5, with a flight time of less than five hours on a Boeing 737-700. Flights will depart Dublin at 8.20am arriving in St John’s at 9.55am with the return flight leaving St John’s at 11.15pm and arriving in Dublin at 7am the next morning. WestJet will also offer connections via St John’s to Toronto (on the same aircraft), and to other cities such as Ottawa, Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.
The new route will establish a direct link between Ireland and a region ofl North American that has a long and deep-seated connection with Ireland. “Newfoundland was the site of the earliest migration from Ireland to North America, especially from Ireland’s south-east,” said Minister Varakdar. “Known as ‘Talamh an Eisc’ in Irish, the land of fish, Newfoundland is the only place name outside of Ireland or Britain which has a distinctive Gaelic name. This new route offers opportunities to develop connections and co-operation in the area of oil and gas, fisheries and maritime.”
“The Gathering has been a tremendous success this year and its benefits are now being seen into next year and beyond with a host of new routes and services at Dublin Airport, including the nine new Ryanair routes and enhanced UK services announced earlier this week.”
The Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Loyola Hearn, said he was delighted with the new service “which would see increased business and tourism traffic between Atlantic Canada and Ireland”.
Ambassador Hearn added that “all of those in Canada and Atlantic Canada with Irish roots will be especially pleased with the new service and that credit must go to DAA for the hard work which had helped win the business.”