By Don Douloff, July 17, 2008
The industry is watching closely to see how the partnership between WestJet and Southwest Airlines will affect WestJet’s U.S. market reach.
Under terms of the deal, the two airlines can, by late 2009, start selling seats on each other’s flights, providing both with greater access to Canada-U.S. markets. Consequently, WestJet would compete with Air Canada, the market leader in transborder flights.
Moreover, in the near future, southwest.com will become a distribution channel for WestJet’s existing Canadian and transborder flights. Other potential opportunities include purchasing, ground handling, marketing and selling to corporate accounts.
Certain details of the partnership are subject to approvals by both the U.S. and Canadian governments. Once approvals are granted, the airlines plan to announce flight schedules and additional features of the alliance in late 2009.