Delta Air Lines and Calgary-based WestJet announced on Thursday that the two companies have signed an agreement to create a comprehensive trans-border joint venture that will offer customers an extensive route network within the U.S. and Canada.
“WestJet continues its drive toward becoming a global airline, and the signing of this agreement marks a major milestone in that journey,” said Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO, in a statement.
“Working together with Delta, the premier U.S. carrier, we are looking forward to providing enhanced offerings and more choice for guests. The joint venture will allow us to maximize our existing partnership with Delta to benefit customers by bringing greater competition to the trans-border market.”
In a joint news release, the companies said the agreement deepens the existing partnership between the carriers and follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding in December 2017 announcing the intention to form a joint venture. The joint venture will provide substantial reach into Canada and the U.S. with trans-border service to more than 30 cities covering over 95 per cent of U.S.-Canada demand, providing customers of both airlines with more travel choices than ever before. The new joint venture will also enable Delta and WestJet to compete more effectively against other carriers, they said.
“Delta’s future is global and together with WestJet, we can augment the two airlines’ capabilities and bring together our strengths in this important trans-border market,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, in a statement.
“Combined, we will be able to offer more destinations to customers with an integrated network, superior airline products, improved airport connections and significantly enhanced frequent flyer benefits. The (joint venture) will provide an unmatched passenger experience for customers travelling between the U.S. and Canada.”
The companies said that upon receipt of regulatory approvals in Canada and the U.S., they will work together to implement all aspects of the enhanced co-operation, including expanded code-sharing, more closely aligned frequent flyer program and reciprocal elite benefits, joint growth across their U.S./Canada trans-border network, and co-location at key hubs with more seamless passenger and baggage transit.
“The agreement will also include the ability to co-operate on cargo accompanying passenger flights as well as corporate contracts,” they said.
Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.
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