When WestJet’s first nonstop flight from Vancouver International Airport to London touched down in the U.K. Saturday, it brought with it “a new chapter of long-haul travel” for the once-regional only airline.

That’s what WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky called the new route shortly before its maiden flight departed from YVR Friday night.

For the province of British Columbia, however, the expectation is that the expanded service will be even more than that.

“We are very, very fortunate,” B.C.’s Jobs and Labour Minister Shirley Bond told the assembled onlookers at the ribbon-cutting. “We’re adding new flights like this all the time. And why should that matter to us? It matters because it actually is great for the economy.”

Bond said the new YVR-London flight will add $8.5 million to the province’s gross domestic product and create as many as 140 jobs.

The new service will fly six times a week until October, and is one of several recent additions to the list of destinations served by Vancouver’s airport.

Last week, Air Canada announced it will offer three flights a week to New Delhi this fall in response to demand from Metro Vancouver’s large South Asian community.

Plus, British Airways’ Super Jumbo Airbus A-380 will be flying daily between YVR and London’s Heathrow Airport for the summer, a fact that makes Vancouver the A-380’s only scheduled stop in all of Western Canada.

For WestJet, London is the airline’s third transatlantic destination, joining flights from other Canadian cities to Dublin and Glasgow.