Canada’s Westjet adding flights to Las Vegas

A WestJet airplane takes off from McCarran International Airport on Friday, Aug. 26, 2011.

WestJet, the Canadian discount airline that is the busiest international air carrier at McCarran International Airport, will expand Las Vegas service with 18 new weekly flights next summer.

Most of the new flights will be to and from existing WestJet destinations, but new service will be added for Fort McMurray, Alberta, beginning June 24.

The airline will have two round trips a week to Fort McMurray, located in northern Alberta in the heart of Canadian oil country.

The new service will boost WestJet’s Las Vegas presence to 76 flights a week to 10 destinations.

In addition to the new destination, WestJet is adding twice-weekly summer flights to and from Victoria, British Columbia, and Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, effectively converting them from seasonal destinations to year-round.

In addition, the airline will add four flights a week — to a total 14 weekly — to Edmonton, Alberta, and six a week — to a total of 20 weekly — to Calgary, Alberta, the airline’s headquarters.

In 2013, WestJet became the first foreign airline to carry more than 1 million passengers to McCarran. The airline’s Las Vegas service began in 2005.

Canada is the No. 1 source of international visitors to Las Vegas, with an estimated 1.9 million coming here in 2012.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimated that the 37 percent increase in WestJet passenger capacity during the summer would generate $149.3 million in annual non-gaming economic impact.

The LVCVA and McCarran have made increasing international flights one of their top priorities, and the LVCVA has a goal of increasing the percentage of international visitors from 18 percent to 30 percent by 2020.

WestJet, which uses McCarran’s Terminal 3, has a fleet of 105 Boeing 737 jets with orders and options for 100 more by 2017.

“WestJet has been an invaluable partner for years and we are extremely pleased it continues to increase its investment in Las Vegas,” Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the LVCVA, said in a statement. “These new flight additions illustrate the demand for Las Vegas among Canadian travelers and reiterate WestJet’s confidence in Las Vegas as a good business decision.”