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WestJet to fly between Abbotsford and Mexico this winter

New routes for WestJet were flown by the airline's subsidiary Swoop, which it plans to soon eliminate
Abbotsford International Airport expects to have a record number of passengers this year.

Abbotsford International Airport will once again have non-stop flights to Mexico this winter, although instead of budget airline Swoop flying the routes, it will be that carrier's parent: Calgary-based WestJet.

WestJet announced earlier this year that it would phase out Swoop and fold that airline's operations into the main company.

Swoop currently flies non-stop between Abbotsford and Puerto Vallarta, and earlier this summer also flew some flights to Los Cobos. Abbotsford airport's general manager Parm Sidhu told BIV this morning that this is the first summer that his airport has had non-stop flights to Mexico.  

WestJet's flights between Abbotsford and Mexico are set to include non-stops between Abbotsford and Puerto Vallarta twice per week, starting Dec. 5. It will also fly between Abbotsford and Los Cabos once per week, starting Dec. 4.

WestJet currently flies daily between Abbotsford and Calgary, and those flights are set to continue on a year-round basis, the airline said today. Its Swoop subsidiary also now flies between Abbotsford and Edmonton, with those flights set to continue under the WestJet banner on a five-times-per-week basis this winter and year-round, according to WestJet. 

"Abbotsford was integral to Swoop's success and remains a valuable part of the WestJet Group's future," said WestJet group executive vice-president and chief commercial officer John Weatherill in a statement.

"As we work through this transitionary period, WestJet's service from Abbotsford will be centered on our strategic focus of providing non-stop connectivity to the sun destinations we know our guests rely on us for to escape the winter cold."

Swoop's other destinations out of Abbotsford this summer are to Toronto, Winnipeg, Hamilton and London. It is not clear if those routes will continue through the winter. 

Flair flies out of Abbotsford, with routes to Toronto, Kitchener, Edmonton and Calgary, Sidhu said.

Air Canada does not operate out of Abbotsford.

Business at the Abbotsford airport this year is booming, he stressed.

"It's crazy, man," Sidhu said. "There are days that we're pushing through about 6,400 people in a day."

He told BIV earlier this year that he expected to see a record 1.2 million passengers either arriving or departing through his airport's gates in 2023, and today he reiterated that prediction. 

He said that his airport saw a record 117,826 passengers in May and a record 128,326 passengers in June. He expects that in July his airport will see a record of more than 150,000 passengers.

Sidhu said the previous annual passenger-count record was 1,008,176 passengers in 2019

BIV reported earlier this month that Vancouver International Airport's passenger volume continues to be below pre-pandemic levels

Part of the reason why passenger volume has recovered faster in Abbotsford than in Vancouver is that Vancouver's airport has more international flights, and international travel has been slower to recover than has domestic travel. Non-stop flights from mainland China have been particularly slow to return.

The airport is set to welcome the Abbotsford International Airshow August 11 through 13, with attractions such as the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. The events operate around the airport's operations so passenger planes can still land and take off.

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