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Potential JVs create intrigue in the Canada-US aviation market as route expansion continues

The Canada-US market may be one of the more mature markets in the world, but it remains highly strategic to airlines operating on those routes – evidenced by Delta and WestJet unveiling plans in late 2017 to create an immunised transborder joint venture. American, which is ending a codeshare with WestJet, is increasing its service to Canada in 2018 as its former codeshare partner now becomes more of a rival.

A push by WestJet’s rival Air Canada into the US during 2018 remains unrelenting, as some of its planned new routes speak directly to its sixth freedom strategy to funnel US passengers through its Canadian hubs onto long haul flights to Europe and Asia.

Air Canada continues to work to grow its share of international passenger traffic to and from the US, and believes that if its share rises to 2%, the airline could generate CAD1 billion in annual incremental revenue.

It is not clear whether the potential Delta-WestJet tie-up could hinder Air Canada’s sixth freedom ambitions, but Canada’s largest airline shows no signs of altering its strategy – to offer attractive itineraries for US passengers who do not have easy access to long haul flights.

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