WestJet says it plans to launch a new, ultra-low-cost carrier in Canada later this year to provide Canadian travellers with no-frills travel options.
Service is expected to start in late 2017 with an initial fleet of 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft “subject to agreement with its pilots and any required regulatory approvals,” the company said.
Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO, said the company was responding to a change in the worldview on low-cost airlines since the launch of WestJet in 1996.
“The complete unbundling of services and products in order to lower fares for the price-sensitive traveller has created the ULCC (ultra-low-cost carrier) category and our new airline will provide Canadians a pro-competitive, cheap and cheerful flying experience from a company with a proven track record,” Saretsky said.
Clive Beddoe, co-founder of WestJet and Chair of the Board of the Directors, said the ultra-low-cost carrier is all about disrupting at the price-sensitive end of the market.
“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,” Beddoe said.
The company, which offers flights to over 100 destinations, did not specify which markets the yet-to-be-named ultra-low-cost carrier will serve.
WestJet’s competitor, Air Canada, launched its discount brand Rouge with flights in 2013 with service to destinations Europe and the Caribbean.