WestJet, Delta, Agree Transborder JV

December 6, 2017

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Delta Air Lines and WestJet have signed a preliminary agreement to set up a commercial joint venture to extend their transborder cooperation.

In a Memorandum of Understanding, the airlines said the JV “will offer customers access to an extensive transborder route network, world-class airline products, enhanced frequent flyer benefits, and shared airport facilities and amenities.”

In practice, the two airlines will coordinate schedules, expand code-sharing and improve flight connections. Top tier frequent flyer members will receive enhanced benefits as part of the agreement.

The Canadian airline’s EVP Ed Sims said the agreement is “an important step in WestJet’s mission to become a global airline,” while Delta’s Steve Sear said “WestJet is the perfect partner for us in the US-Canada transborder segment.”

WestJet has been gradually pushing its mainline carrier upmarket from its low cost roots, and earlier this year announced a new ultra-low-cost carrier ‘Swoop’, due to start flying in summer 2018.

The Calgary-based airline’s chief executive Gregg Saretsky said at an investor update that it continues to invest in initiatives to support the transition “from a low-cost point-to-point model into a high value-based network airline with a global footprint.”

WestJet is the second biggest airline in Canada, flying mainly domestic and transborder routes. In addition to its Caribbean vacation flights it has also launched mostly seasonal flights to some European destinations.