Canadian leisure carrie WestJet is developing a new ultra-low-cost airline, the company announced.
The as-yet-unnamed carrier will launch in late 2017 or early 2018.
The airline will begin with an initial fleet of 10 high-density Boeing 737-800s designed by the airline.
“We have built WestJet from its low-cost, regional roots into a renowned, international airline with service to 21 countries and today it’s all about disrupting at the price-sensitive end of the market,” said Clive Beddoe, co-founder of WestJet and Chair of the Board of the Directors. “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.”
The company has not yet announced potential flight networks, although it would not be a surprise if it flew to the Caribbean in some manner, particularly since Air Canada’s Rouge lower-cost carrier has developed a strong base in the region.
WestJet has appointed Bob Cummings as the carrier’s executive vice president, in which role he will be responsible for all aspects of the venture, including planning, branding, pricing, product development and operationalization. Cummings has been with the company since 2005.
“I am eager to bring our ULCC to market on behalf of Canadians looking for even lower fares,” Cummings said. “I firmly believe that we have the necessary capabilities to launch another successful and exciting chapter in WestJet’s history. Travellers can expect a very different approach from this new ULCC, yet one that will ultimately provide air travel accessibility to many more Canadians.”