WestJet delays Sunwing Airlines integration by six months

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Published May 21, 2024 at 12:27 pm

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A planned integration of Sunwing Airlines into WestJet has been delayed by six months.

WestJet acquired Sunwing Airlines in March of 2023 with the intention of integrating the low-cost carrier into its mainline business. The move came just after WestJet folded budget subsidiary Swoop’s operations under its flagship banner.

The Calgary-based WestJet added 18 Boeing 737s and 2,000 employees with the purchase of Sunwing.

“Together, we will strategically enhance our sun and leisure offerings to bring even more affordable and accessible travel opportunities to Canadians,”  said Alexis von Hoensbroech, chief executive officer of the WestJet Group last spring.

But the merging of the two airlines will mean less competition in the low-cost airfare business.

Sunwing and Swoop were two of Canada’s few low-cost airlines. Lynx Air, a Calgary-based low-cost airline that launched in the fall of 2021 shut down in February. And Edmonton-based Flair Airlines, an ultra-low-cost carrier, is struggling with financial issues.

WestJet announced it planned to integrate Sunwing by Oct. 26, 2024 but that date has been pushed forward to April 27, 2025, according to a statement from WestJet sent to insauga.com.

The integration includes moving all Boeing 737s into the same air operator certificate.

The additional time will allow for a “phased approach” to meet training and aircraft transition with safety, people and guests at the forefront, according to the statement.

In the meantime, travellers on both WestJet Airlines and Sunwing Airlines will continue business as usual for their winter 2024/2025 operation schedules.

“The updated integration timeline has no impact on Sunwing Vacations Group and its associated vacations brands,” the statement reads.

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