WestJet has announced their first two routes across the Atlantic to be flown with the Boeing 737 MAX 8, both from Halifax. Daily service to London (Gatwick), a route previously flown with the Boeing 737-700, will start on 29 April 2018. Daily service to Paris, WestJet's first destination in continental Europe, will start just over a month later on 31 May 2018.
WestJet began flying across the Atlantic four years ago with daily non-stop flights from St. John's, Newfoundland to Dublin using the Boeing 737-700. Trans-Atlantic flying from Halifax began in 2015 with service to Glasgow, followed by London in 2016.
St. John's provided a good starting point for WestJet to serve Europe since it is the farthest east of any Canadian airport, but in Canada's 2016 census the St. John's metropolitan area had a population of just 205,955, 20th-largest in Canada. Halifax has nearly twice the population (403,390, 13 in rank), providing a stronger local market, so with the greater range of the 737 MAX 8 it is likely that Halifax will continue to be the focus of WestJet's flights to Europe in the 737. Most of Western Europe is reachable from Halfax with the 737 MAX 8, even limiting choices to those within 90% of the 3,515-nm range published by Boeing.
Today's Featured Map shows WestJet's two new 737 MAX 8 routes in teal, with the existing 737-700 routes in navy. Red marks the 90% range boundary for the 737 MAX 8 from Halifax plus a dozen major European markets within this range. Thanks to Eric Kennedy (ericbkennedy on Twitter) for the suggestion and basic research!
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