WestJet announced (24-Jun-2013) the launch of WestJet Encore on 24-Jun-2103, with the start-up to initially service Nanaimo, Fort St. John, Vancouver, Victoria and Saskatoon using Bombardier Q400 equipment. WestJet Encore president Ferio Pugliese said: "Our inaugural flights across western Canada today represent the future of enhanced connectivity for Canadians. WestJet Encore is here to liberate smaller communities from the high cost of regional air travel while continuing to provide every guest with our award winning culture of care. Much as we did back in 1996 with national carrier WestJet, WestJet Encore hopes to make regional air travel easier, more accessible and less expensive. Strategically, providing access to more Canadians as well as using WestJet Encore to fly new non-stops and enhance our frequency between markets will not only enable incremental growth from new markets but also enhance our overall value for the business market." [more - original PR]
WestJet launches WestJet Encore
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During the past three years the Canadian ULCC start-ups attempting to establish themselves have been lumped with failed carriers including Jetsgo, Zoom and Skyservice. Obviously it is too soon to tell if NewLeaf and Jetlines will succumb to the same fate, but there is no question that there are opportunities to stimulate traffic in Canada. However, Canada’s second largest airline WestJet is already making moves into NewLeaf’s markets, and will use its significant market power to compete fiercely against the start-up ULCC.
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Although WestJet believes it will make an important turn in its unit revenue performance in early 2017, it faces some cost inflation for the full year as it adds a larger number of smaller Bombardier Q400 turboprops, which have higher operating costs but in fact also help drive bottom line profitability. Although at this point WestJet cannot forecast its unit revenue performance for FY2017, its goal is to post unit revenue growth that outpaces unit cost increases.