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WestJet is Canada’s second largest carrier. In 2021, Delta Air Lines announced reciprocal benefits for elite members including greater baggage allowances, lounge access, priority boarding, preferred seats, and more. It looked like the two airlines were going to keep pushing for a joint venture, but WestJet just announced that it will defer those plans.
The airlines had been working on a joint venture to compete with what Air Canada and United have in place, but this was dropped in November 2020 after the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said that WestJet would need to divest all eight of its slot pairs at New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) for approval. This was resubmitted in 2021, only eight months after dropping the initial application. Now, it looks like WestJet is taking this idea off the table.
WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech told Airline Weekly in a recent interview:
We are happy with what we are doing, and we haven’t decided to take any decision on potentially refiling a joint venture. We are happy with what we have, and [will] take it from there.”
This does not appear to mean that the airlines will no longer partner closely. Beginning next month, WestJet will launch four new routes to Delta hubs, including Calgary International Airport (YYC) to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), Edmonton International Airport (YEG) to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). WestJet has also extended its seasonal service from Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to all year round.
Anthony’s Take: I have yet to fly WestJet but have not been impressed when flying Air Canada in the past. Without a joint venture, Delta and WestJet are at a disadvantage, but can still benefit from codesharing and providing reciprocal benefits to flyers. I’m looking forward to trying them on a future trip to Canada.
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