Canadian budget carrier WestJet is to start low fare transatlantic flights from Gatwick.
The airline’s first routes from England using widebody Boeing 767-300 aircraft are due to start from next summer.
Details of the Canadian destinations to be served and frequency will be provided later in the summer, but flights are planned to start in spring 2016.
WestJet already operates from Dublin and started flying from Glasgow to Halifax, Nova Scotia last month for £238.
The airline will join Norwegian in providing low fare, long haul services from Gatwick.
WestJet executive vice president, commercial, Bob Cummings, said: “This news marks the next phase in the international portion of our strategic plan.
“WestJet is at the right scale to make this step in our evolution. Combined with our low-cost approach and renowned people-driven service, we have the network, brand and infrastructure to successfully enter and grow in the wide-body market.
“We look forward to announcing, later this summer, our entire schedule and low-fare approach for the spring of 2016.”
He added: “Wide-body capability now allows us to serve London Gatwick from anywhere in Canada and brings into consideration more international destinations in the future.
“The Canadian cities we will fly from will be determined over the course of this summer.
“We will meet with airports across the country to determine the most suitable ones we believe will meet our needs and those of our guests.”
The airline’s network planning, alliances and corporate development vice president, Chris Avery, said: “Well-managed and efficient airports like Gatwick are ideal for low-cost airlines like WestJet.
“We love Gatwick as a convenient airport with great connectivity to central London and access to other low-cost airlines flying to points in Europe and beyond. We look forward to welcoming travellers from Gatwick through our network to destinations across Canada.”
Gatwick chief executive, Stuart Wingate, said: “WestJet’s announcement that it will connect Canada and London is further illustration that the growth of low cost long haul will continue to be a game-changer, increasing competition and services for passengers.
“As we near a recommendation on where the UK’s next runway should be built, it is clear that expansion must encourage the growth of this sector as it becomes more and more prominent in the market.”
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