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
You may also be interested in the following articles...
Canadian start up ULCC NewLeaf makes numerous schedule adjustments as WestJet targets competition
Canadian ULCC start up NewLeaf Travel is reaching six months of operations and during that time has transported 150,000 passengers under its unique arrangement with Flair Airlines, in which Flair operates aircraft on behalf of NewLeaf.
NewLeaf continues to promote the stimulatory benefits of its model, but its network development has featured many fits and starts, including the recent temporary suspension of some routes due to problems with Flair’s aircraft availability. Before the launch the company also decided to cancel service to Phoenix Mesa airport, due to WestJet’s decision to introduce new flights in direct competition with NewLeaf.
NewLeaf opted to use existing aircraft capacity in order to be a first mover in the ULCC space within Canada, but its recent schedule adjustments indicate that purchasing existing capacity might not be a viable model for the long term. WestJet’s competitive response to NewLeaf also raises questions about whether the ULCC model will ultimately prevail in Canada.
Canada’s two largest airlines embark on 2017 on solid footing; ULCC threat remains a wildcard
Canada’s two largest airlines are embarking on 2017 with a tilt toward international expansion. Air Canada is continuing its march toward building a global competitive network that rivals those of its North American global airline peers, and WestJet is setting the stage to expand a long haul trans-Atlantic network. As has been the case during the past few years, the bulk of Air Canada’s capacity expansion will be directed into international markets in 2017; WestJet is pledging slower system capacity growth after its expansion in 2016, which coupled with unit revenue pressure has created some investor anxiety.
Both airlines are beginning 2017 with higher valuations as Canada’s economic growth should settle towards 2% in 2017. Although the country’s economic growth forecast is not stellar, it is at least stable. Canada’s province of Alberta is climbing out of a recession after the region’s economic weakness had created challenges for Canadian airlines during the last year.
Two aspiring Canadian ULCCs are attempting to launch operations in 2017, joining NewLeaf Travel – which has recently cancelled new routes after encroachment by WestJet. Canada’s first low cost airline has pledged to compete fiercely with the start-ups, and its actions are reinforcing that declaration.