January 17, 2012
WestJet is considering launching a regional airline.
WestJet is considering launching a short-haul, regional airline as early as 2013 using a fleet of about 40 smaller, turboprop aircraft.
“A short-haul aircraft combined with WestJet’s brand, balance sheet strength and low-cost structure will allow WestJet to profitably accomplish four main goals,” said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet president and CEO in a news release.
Those goals, he said, include introducing service to smaller communities who have requested it; “[optimizing] the size of aircraft to efficiently increase frequency; [creating] new connections between existing WestJet markets; and [building] additional feed to our current 71-city network.”
Quoted in The Globe and Mail, Saretsky said destinations that could potentially be served by the new airline include Cranbrook, Prince Rupert, Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, B.C.; Lethbridge, Alta.; Brandon and Thompson, Man.; Saguenay, Que.; and Sudbury, Sarnia and Timmins, Ont.
Saretsky added that the company will be meeting with employees “throughout January” to get their input on the plan.
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