The WestJet Group says Annyeong-haseyo to South Korea with first flight between Calgary and Seoul

18.05.24 01:29 Uhr

Nearly sold-out inaugural flight marks the first of 140 flights between Calgary and Seoul this summer

WestJet's newest connection soars on strong economic and cultural relations between Canada and South Korea   

CALGARY, AB, May 17, 2024 /CNW/ - Amidst great fanfare and esteemed partners and guests, The WestJet Group today launched its first flight to Seoul from its global hub in Calgary, establishing a direct link between Alberta and South Korea. The departure of WestJet flight 86 underscores the airline's commitment to expanding its 787 global hub at YYC Calgary International Airport, fostering greater ties between Alberta's vibrant visitor economy and Asia's robust business and tourism landscape.

The WestJet Group says Annyeong-haseyo to South Korea with first flight between Calgary and Seoul. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

"Canada and South Korea's decades-long history in mutual support, shared values, and bilateral trade initiatives have set the stage for WestJet's service to Seoul, marking a significant milestone in strengthening cultural exchange and economic ties between the two nations," said John Weatherill, WestJet Group Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer. "Bringing an authentic, reliable and essential service offering to life was possible due to the collaboration and advocacy of our dedicated WestJetters, countless government agencies and stakeholders passionate about bringing our cultures closer together."

WestJet service to Seoul will operate on the airline's 787 Dreamliner three times per week through October 27, 2024, and will return in Spring 2025.

Route

Frequency

Departure

Arrival

Calgary-Seoul

3x weekly

17:55

20:45+1

Seoul-Calgary

3x weekly

22:45

18:15

The Alberta-South Korea Connection

  • Canada and South Korea share strong people to-people linkages stemming from historical connections, which are enhanced by increasing immigration and tourism flows, as well as business visitors. South Korea is one of Canada's top source countries of international students.
  • Alberta also has strong trade ties with many countries in the Indo-Pacific regions, which, together, represent Alberta's second largest and most diverse export market. 
    • With three weekly flights and 60 tonnes of cargo capacity into and out of South Korea, WestJet reaffirms its commitment to bolstering ties and delivering efficient and dependable cargo solutions.
  • South Korea is Canada's seventh largest trading partner and sixth largest import and export partner.
    • WestJet's direct connection to ICN supports trade opportunities, streamlining Canadian exports and facilitating the importation of electronics, e-commerce goods and general cargo.

"WestJet's brand-new service to Seoul will inspire Canadians to explore their horizons in South Korea with the convenience of flying a familiar airline. We have gone above and beyond to ensure all guests have an elevated experience onboard including introducing the option of western and Korean inflight meals, Korean entertainment options and onboard Korean announcements," concluded Weatherill.

Guests will also have access to six additional cities across four Asian countries from Incheon International Airport (ICN) through WestJet's codeshare agreement with Korean Airlines. Through the agreement, guests will have more opportunity to explore unique transpacific Asian destinations beyond Seoul with a seamless single connection at ICN and the convenience of booking their entire journey with one ticket, baggage transfers, and earning WestJet Dollars throughout.

WestJet's non-stop flight to Seoul is one of many transoceanic service offerings available this summer. Guests travelling out of WestJet's hub in Calgary can also connect to Tokyo and seven European destinations as part of the airline's robust international offerings. Earlier this month, WestJet also revealed plans to transition its seasonal service between Calgary and Tokyo to a yearly cadence, further establishing ties in Asia.

Full schedule details can be found at https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/flights/direct-flights.

Partner quotes

"WestJet is an important contributor to Alberta's economy and our province's growing aviation sector. By establishing a flight between Calgary International Airport and Incheon International Airport, WestJet is helping to build even greater economic and personal connections between two long-standing friends and trading partners. On behalf of Alberta's government, I want to congratulate WestJet on this new route, and I look forward to improved access between our two cities and the economic success it will bring to both Alberta and South Korea," said Matt Jones, Alberta's Minister of Jobs, Economy and Trade.

"I'm delighted by the expansion of opportunities for Canadians traveling to Korea this year with the introduction of WestJet's Calgary-Incheon route. This new route has great significance in 2024, which has been designated as the Year of Korea-Canada Cultural Exchange. 2024 also marks Visit Korea Year as officially declared by the Korean government. Alongside the launch of the Calgary-Incheon route, I hope there is more cultural exchange between Canada and Korea, and I look forward to the expansion and establishment of the Calgary-Incheon route as regular service in the future," said Director of Korea Tourism Organization Toronto Jane Kim.

"The direct flight between Calgary and Incheon will be a valuable bridge to promote tourism and people-to-people exchange," said Consulate General Jongho Kyeon.

"Today's inaugural flight positions WestJet Cargo as a leading conduit for imports and exports between Western Canada and South Korea and represents a significant enhancement for WestJet Cargo's global reach," said Kirsten de Bruijin, Executive Vice-President WestJet Cargo.

"I am delighted to congratulate WestJet on the achievement of this significant milestone – the inaugural non-stop route from Calgary to Seoul is truly a cause for celebration. This important new destination solidifies YYC's status as a global hub, will strengthen business and cultural ties between Western Canada and Asia, and supports our mission to advance the economic health and development of our region and our province," said Chris Dinsdale, President and CEO of The Calgary Airport Authority.

"This announcement by WestJet continues to solidify Calgary's position as the most connected mid-sized city in all of North America. A direct connection to Seoul through our world-class international airport will allow our local companies to have greater access to global markets and will continue to drive more inbound investment and support our growing visitor economy," said Brad Parry, President and CEO of Calgary Economic Development.

"Travel Alberta is thrilled with the launch of WestJet's direct flight from Calgary to Seoul. As a primarily fly-to destination, this new route will make it easy for travellers from South Korea to visit Alberta, stay longer, and explore more parts of the province. Our market insights confirm that travellers from East Asia are looking for uniquely Albertan experiences, and we can't wait to welcome them this summer," said Jon Mamela, SVP and CCO, Travel Alberta.

"Today's announcement by WestJet is an important piece of our long-term tourism strategy to enhance visitation in Calgary from the South Korean market. Thanks to our partnership, and this direct flight connection, we now have a greater opportunity for two-way visitation and to share Calgary and all we have to offer with friends and families from South Korea. Furthermore, this service will re-ignite a primary market for Tourism Calgary and enhance our ability to attract more economic growth to our city through international meetings & conventions, special events, and tour operator visitation," said Cindy Ady, outgoing CEO of Tourism Calgary.

"We are very pleased to open a new skyway between Asia and Canada with WestJet, and Incheon International Airport will provide maximum support for its stable and successful operation. We hope that this will not only boost tourism and industrial exchanges between the two countries, but also bring travelers from Asia closer to the natural beauty of Canada through Incheon Airport," said Hag Jae Lee, President & CEO of Incheon International Airport Corporation.

About WestJet

In 28 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 26 countries. 

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com. 

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SOURCE WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership