Canadian airlines WestJet and Air Transat have announced plans to launch a codeshare agreement in 2022. Covering transatlantic itineraries, the airlines will offer single-ticket connecting itineraries. With WestJet’s larger domestic network and Air Transat’s larger international network, the move will help Air Transat bolster its transatlantic loads while giving WestJet the ability to offer more destinations to its customers.
WestJet and Air Transat plan a codeshare
WestJet and Air Transat have announced their intentions to cooperate on a codeshare partnership covering transatlantic travel. The two airlines will sell single ticket itineraries with through-checked bags, giving customers easier ways to get from North America to Europe and vice versa.
WestJet will place its code on Air Transat flights to select cities in Europe. Air Transat will place its code on select WestJet flights in North America, with an eye on offering connecting transatlantic itineraries. The codeshare is currently expected to be implemented in early 2022, pending final regulatory approvals.
Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO, stated the following on the codeshare intention:
“This new codeshare with Air Transat complements our world-class Boeing 787 Dreamliners and our strong relationships with leading European airlines. Confidence in travel is building and this new transatlantic cooperation will allow WestJet to offer even more destinations to travellers, connecting North America and Europe in new ways, and benefiting guests on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Transat President and CEO, Annick Guérard, added:
“We are very excited to join forces with WestJet in what I am sure will be a successful collaboration. This agreement is a first milestone in our strategy to grow and strengthen our network through alliances. It will create great opportunities for our existing and future customers, who are looking to connect between North America and Europe and will enhance our long-standing presence on the transatlantic market.”
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WestJet gets access to more European destinations
WestJet will hugely benefit from the new codeshare partnership in terms of its transatlantic network. Next year, the airline has scheduled only seven European destinations, with plans to add new flights to London-Heathrow, complementing its existing London-Gatwick services. Air Transat, meanwhile, has plans to operate flights to 24 destinations in Europe with varying weekly frequencies.
While WestJet has been adding new flights to Europe, including new Irish and Scottish destinations, it remains with a limited presence in the transatlantic market from Canada. Most of its other European offerings are sold via a connection with a partner.
WestJet has firm orders for only 10 Boeing 787-9s, with options for 10 more. This relatively small fleet is mainly devoted to some of the more significant European destinations, like Paris and London. WestJet’s 737 MAX aircraft, which has been able to unlock flying to more Western European destinations, cannot make it to further destinations like Athens, where Air Transat flies.
While Air Transat orients its network around peak-day flying, it will still allow WestJet to sell more transatlantic connections than it can on its own, including to some leisure destinations that not even competitor Air Canada serves.
Air Transat gets a domestic connecting network
Air Transat will benefit from the codeshare by gaining access to a domestic connecting network. This is a deficiency that the airline had previously expected would be rectified through the acquisition by Air Canada, though that did not pan out.
Air Transat’s model has been chiefly oriented around point-to-point travel, which has its limits in the competitive transatlantic marketplace. The airline serves some niche destinations, but access to a connecting network through WestJet could make more routes viable, or at least more frequencies on some routes.