WestJet launches its first flights from Atlanta on Sunday with a route to Calgary.
A partner of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, WestJet will be the only airline to fly nonstop from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Calgary, where WestJet is based.
The Canadian carrier will operate six flights a week with a Boeing 737 on the route, then switch to daily flights starting April 7. Travelers from Canada will be able to connect in Atlanta to other cities on Delta.
WestJet and Delta have had a partnership since 2011 and last year struck a joint venture agreement, now subject to government approval. The new route connects together the largest hubs of the two partners.
Mary Moran, chief executive of Calgary Economic Development. Among Canadian cities, said “air access is kind of the seed planting of economic development opportunities.” Calgary has a high concentration of high-tech workers, and “there’s a lot of opportunities around technology coming out of Georgia Tech,” she said. For leisure travelers, “certainly having access to Atlanta and the Georgia coast is really important to Albertans who want to escape the winters.”
WestJet vice president of network and alliances Brian Znotins said the first flight to Atlanta includes business travelers connecting to Fayetteville, Ark. near Walmart headquarters in Bentonville and vacationers connecting to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport.
Travelers from Atlanta will be able to fly to Alberta to visit Banff and the Alberta Rockies, Moran said. Calgary, a Western-themed city known for its ranching and energy industry, is also known for the Calgary Stampede Rodeo.