In just two short weeks, WestJet has absorbed two competing airlines under their parentage.
Sunwing Vacations and Swoop will both be flying under WestJet’s umbrella with Swoop disappearing altogether.
In March of this year, the federal government approved WestJet’s purchase of Sunwing Vacations and the company was formally taken over in May.
Swoop has been under the WestJet umbrella since its launch in 2017, as a way to offer ultra-low cost flights for those looking for a bare-bones trip somewhere.
Both of these acquisitions come just weeks after WestJet and their pilots’ union ratified a deal for better pay and job security.
According to WestJet, the acquisitions will help them offer better vacation packages and it will allow them to lower their own fees for customers to find affordability with them while expanding their fleet considerably.
“We are confident that the future integration of Sunwing Airlines into the WestJet Group, following that of our ultra-low-cost carrier Swoop will significantly enhance our ability to provide affordability and choice to our guests,” said Alexis von Hoensbroech, WestJet Group, Chief Executive Officer.
“The integration of all jets from Sunwing Airlines, Swoop and WestJet into one fleet will provide us with the scale to enhance our collective operational resilience, while offering more affordable fares and vacation opportunities across our entire network.”
WestJet says all of Swoop’s jets will be flying under their banner by October of this year while Sunwing will not start integrating until 2024. In the meantime, Sunwing will operate “business as usual.”
Some Canadians have been speaking out, saying that these recent moves by WestJet limits competition and could be a catalyst for higher prices for both domestic and international flights in Canada.
Despite this fear among consumers, WestJet says that there is nothing to worry about and that their prices will come down with the integration of the two companies.
“Competition amongst air carriers in Canada has never been healthier and after a challenging three years, aviation is back, with passenger traffic doubling in Canada since March 2022,” said von Hoensbroech.
“As the strongest airline in Western Canada and the biggest vacation provider across the entire country – the integration of Swoop and eventually Sunwing Airlines into the WestJet Group will enhance affordability and serve to increase choice for Canadians for their air travel and vacation plans.”
With Swoop and Sunwing being absorbed there are still a number of ultra-low cost airlines that operate in North America, including Flair Airlines, an independent company operating several flights a day from most major Canadian cities as well as Lynx Airlines, which is owned and operated by a former WestJet executive, but doesn’t operate on the same scale as its low-cost competitors.
Two brand new airlines, Porter and Canada Jetlines claim to operate at low costs but being based in eastern Canada, don’t yet operate on a large enough scale to properly service Victoria.