WestJet announced (11-Oct-2012) it has named its upcoming regional start-up WestJet Encore following a vote to rename the carrier. The carrier plans to launch in 2H2013 with Bombardier Q400 equipment. WestJet EVP- sales, marketing and guest experience Bob Cummings said, "We are excited to launch WestJet Encore, leveraging the phenomenal strength of the WestJet brand delivered through our WestJetters. Encore reinforces that our WestJetters are ready to repeat the success of WestJet, liberating Canadians in many communities from the high cost of travel." [more - original PR]
WestJet names new regional carrier ‘WestJet Encore’
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Air Canada Part 2: Financial progress makes investment grade metrics more tangible
A decade ago it would have been unheard of for Air Canada to contemplate reaching an investment grade credit rating. The airline had emerged from bankruptcy protection, but was still struggling financially. It would teeter on the verge of another formal restructuring before setting out on a course to restructure its financial foundation – a process that has allowed the airline to improve its balance sheet and leverage.
Air Canada’s leverage targets for YE2018 will not meet the general proxy for an investment grade rating; however, its lower capital commitments and debt refinancing could create an opportunity for achieving that status beyond 2018.
Attaining an investment grade credit rating likely remains a longer term goal for Air Canada as its major financial goals in the short term remain paying down debt that is creeping up due to a fleet renewal, as well as funding growth to drive long-term shareholder value. More meaningful shareholder returns will likely occur once the company reaches what it deems as acceptable progress in debt management, and reaches a certain maturity level in growing its international network.
This is Part 2 in a two part series on Air Canada. Part 1 dealt with long haul LCC subsidiary, rouge.
WestJet expands Encore’s fleet and adds widebody flights as it braces for negative 2Q unit revenues
In the midst of heightened scrutiny over its performance on long haul routes to London and its handling of economic weakness in Western Canada, WestJet has chosen to exercise options for an additional nine Bombardier Q400 turboprops – for operation by its regional subsidiary Encore. The options are the last that WestJet holds with the manufacturer, and once deliveries are complete in 2018 Encore will reach WestJet’s targeted maturity of 45 aircraft.
During its three years of existence Encore has grown rapidly, and now offers 168 daily flights to 36 destinations. WestJet’s execution in developing and growing Encore has largely been successful, stimulating traffic in smaller markets previously dominated by a single airline.
In addition to Encore’s expansion, WestJet continues to court business travellers through its enhanced Plus product while attempting to navigate a weak unit revenue environment. The airline believes its negative performance will improve sequentially through 2016, but it is unlikely that WestJet can achieve a positive result in that metric this year.