After the Southwest-WestJet codeshare plans went under and, with many expecting WestJet’s US partner to be Delta, American Airlines slipped in to interline with the Canadian LCC. As with JetBlue, WestJet is building its future on strong partnerships. During the summer it announced its agreement with Cathay Pacific has blossomed from an interline deal into a codeshare.
For American, the deal means it shores up its trans-border presence at a time when it is facing more competition with the recently announced joint venture between Star Alliance partners Air Canada and United.
WestJet indicated this was the first such agreement in the US, but what it really wants is a codeshare with a US carrier similar to its deal with Cathay. The courtship with Southwest was announced in 2008, but was finally terminated by Southwest which cited unacceptable changes wanted by the Canadian carrier. That happened in April and WestJet promptly went looking for greener pastures hinting at a Delta link. At the time, WestJet indicated that delays in Southwest’s IT upgrade was part of the reason the deal failed.
"This agreement represents WestJet's first interline with a US carrier and we are excited to be working with such a well-established and recognised global airline like American Airlines," said Executive Vice-President, Strategy and Planning Hugh Dunleavy. "We look forward to welcoming the many American customers on board our aircraft as guests who will experience WestJet's world-class guest experience."
The relationship, which begins on 09-Nov-2010, will deepen in December, said the two carriers, when passengers will be able to use WestJet for flights to Canada.
The deal covers American/American Eagle gateways at Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, Halifax and Ottawa and provides connections to 25 new Canadian cities not currently served by American or American Eagle. WestJet serves a total of 31 Canadian cities and 71 destinations in 13 countries.
"American's interline agreement with WestJet complements our North American network and greatly benefits our customers by offering additional connections to and from new Canadian markets," said Virasb Vahidi, American's Chief Commercial Officer. "WestJet offers a high-quality on-board product that our customers will enjoy."