TORONTO-based Sunwing Airlines is adding more winter flights and establishing a new seasonal crew base in Winnipeg to handle a growing local volume of vacation travellers.
The charter airline said Wednesday it will be hiring more than 60 new "crew members" from the local community to staff the new base, which will operate out of Winnipeg's Richardson International Airport during the winter-vacation season.
It will also be adding weekly flights to Grand Bahama beginning Jan. 18 and continuing until the end of March.
"Due to the overwhelming success Sunwing has experienced in the Winnipeg market, we have decided to further expand our Winnipeg operations and are very excited about the upcoming season," Sunwing president Mark Williams said in a written statement announcing the expansion plans.
Sunwing has been operating in Winnipeg since 2006, when it introduced direct flights to Cancun, Mexico. It has since expanded its local offerings to include flights to other popular sun-vacation destinations in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico and now, Grand Bahama.
Janine Chapman, Sunwing's vice-president of marketing, said the airline started out with three flights per week, and that has since grown to 15 flights per week to 11 southern vacation destinations.
"Additionally, in the past two years, Sunwing has added fall flights to the sun, where previously service had not commenced until Christmas," Chapman added.
Breanne Talbot, communications and public affairs manager for the Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA), said Sunwing doesn't have any employees here at the moment, which is why Wednesday's announcement is good news for the city.
Talbot said the new base is expected to open the middle of next month and remain open until late March. She said it's her understanding the new hires will include flight attendants, but may also include other types of workers.
Sunwing said a one-week, all-inclusive vacation package to Grand Bahama will start at $1,395, plus $350 in taxes, per person.