DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – A new service offered by WestJet has been operational in Dawson Creek for over a month, and Mayor Dale Bumstead says the response has been positive so far.

WestJet says it is the only carrier providing non-stop service between the Peace region and Calgary, operating four times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The route was supposed to launch last year, but COVID-19 restrictions forced the service to be delayed over 16 months.

“We’re very, very happy with the first month and a half that it’s been operational,” said Bumstead. “We had a cancellation a week ago because of some mechanical issues, which happens in any airline industry, and we had a cancellation last week because of the fog. But overall, the ridership has been very good.”

The plane serving Dawson Creek only holds 34 passengers, but Bumstead says outbound and inbound flights have averaged 20 to 25 passengers.

“We are happy with the loads, especially in the early time where people are just learning about the service, and COVID-19 impacts the amount of people that travel for holidays and personal travel.”

For the many workers who fly in and fly out of the Peace, Bumstead says people are happy to be able to fly directly to Dawson Creek.

“The industry guys from Calgary are happy to get a direct flight to Dawson Creek, they’re not having to fly to Grande Prairie or Fort St. John and rent a car to drive out. For people doing personal travel, they love the fact that they’ve got the airport five minutes from home, no parking fees, jump in the plane and in an hour and a half, they’re in Calgary.”

People can even fly in for work and be home the same day, says Bumstead.

“They love the fact that they can come for work for the day, and at five o’clock, jump on the plane and head back to Calgary. That’s a really strong benefit that makes it so popular for business and industry travelers.”

WestJet Link flights are operated through a capacity purchase agreement with Pacific Coastal Airlines using its fleet of WestJet-branded 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft.

Flights from Calgary to Dawson Creek operate four times a week, departing YYC at 3:30 p.m. and arriving at YDQ by 4:37 p.m.

Return flights to Calgary operate four times a week, departing YDQ at 5:15 p.m. and arriving at YYC by 8:13 p.m.