MIAMI – WestJet Airlines expects to launch their new ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) subsidiary in early 2018, starting service sometime in the summer. WestJet had originally said that the ULCC would commence service by late 2017.
The new airline, led by the Executive Vice-President — Bob Cummings, has already begun the process to acquire necessary regulatory requirements. The new airline has also applied for air its operator’s certificate.
The ULCC will operate independently of WestJet and would offer no-frills and lower-cost travel options with its ten 737-800 leased from WestJet.
“Launching a ULCC will broaden WestJet‘s growth opportunities and open new market segments by offering more choice to those Canadians looking for lower fares,” said Clive Beddoe, Chair of the WestJet board.
The Chief Executive of Air Canada, Calin Rovinescu, is unconcerned with WestJet‘s plans as he said in an interview. Rouge, he says, is a “competitive tool” to allow them to compete for leisure passengers in both international and domestic markets.
WestJet was founded in 1996 as a low-cost alternative to Air Canada and Canadian Airlines. In 2017 its domestic capacity is expected to grow to 20.8 million available seats, ahead of the 19.5 million in 2016.
“I firmly believe that we have the necessary capabilities to launch another successful and exciting chapter in WestJet’s history. Travelers can expect a very different approach from this new ULCC, yet one that will ultimately provide air travel accessibility to many more Canadians,” said Cummings in May.
With Westjet’s support, Canada may finally have a true ULCC. Last year, an airline named NewLeaf attempted to launch as a ULCC. As part of its launch, NewLeaf mentioned the notable absence of a ULCC in Canada as a reason for its creation.