WestJet’s Newest Airlines Mark a Year in the Skies

WestJet (WS/WJA) is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the launch of two subsidiary carriers, WestJet Link (8P/PCO) and Swoop (WO/WSW). The two airlines were founded on the same date, June 20, 2018. WestJet Link is a regional carrier, with service operated by Pacific Coastal Airlines for WestJet. Link’s flights are operated by Pacific Coastal’s fleet of Saab 340 aircraft, and flies from its hub at Calgary. Since its inception, the subsidiary has not expanded or shrank, as it has maintained the same five destinations throughout its service. The way the service operates is similar to Air Canada Express service, as the aircraft are painted in a WestJet Link livery, while the flights are operated by Pacific Coastal crew, and the aircraft are owned by the British Columbian regional airline. In its first year, Link served Prince George, Lloydminster, Cranbrook, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge, and carried 195,000 passengers on its eight daily flights. “WestJet Link is working the way it was designed to give guests convenient access to the WestJet network along with a caring experience from start to finish,” stated Brian Znotins, WestJet Vice-President Network Planning and Alliances. “We’re thrilled to celebrate its successful first year of service and thank our loyal guests in these communities for choosing WestJet Link to take them to Calgary or beyond. We look forward to operating many more flights together alongside our partners at Pacific Coastal.” “We are proud to operate these connecting flights under our Capacity Purchase Agreement with WestJet and are excited to be celebrating the first anniversary,” stated Quentin Smith, President of Pacific Coastal Airlines. However, Link is not WestJet’s only subsidiary celebrating its first anniversary. Swoop, WestJet’s Ultra-Low-Cost subsidiary airline, is also celebrating a year of service. The airline was launched as WestJet begins adding higher levels of service to its mainline fleet, including Business Class seating, leaving a gap in the market that Swoop can fill. 

The subsidiary operates from bases at Abbotsford, Edmonton, and Hamilton to avoid competing with its parent company, and operates high-density Boeing 737-800 aircraft with reduced service compared to WestJet in order to attract budget-minded travelers. The airline’s original plan was to expand to 10 aircraft by its one-year anniversary, and while it has not reached that goal, it is on its way, with seven 737s in its fleet. The airline operates to several vacation destinations that are not served or are underserved by its parent airline. To celebrate its anniversary, the airline is offering lower fares on select routes for a limited time, such as $59 one-way fares between London, Ontario and Halifax, and $79 one-way fares between Winnipeg and Abbotsford. “With 365 days of flying and over one million travellers flown, we are proud to be Canada’s preferred ultra-low-cost airline, enabling dreams, reunions and providing the pleasure of ultra-low-cost travel to both new and repeat travellers,” stated Steven Greenway, President of Swoop. “Our travellers’ stories speak for themselves and we have so many reasons to be thankful for their trust and support. We can’t wait to see what year two brings.” 

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