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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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.
Optimism, uncertainty and cost pressures offer an unpredictable mix for 2017
A sense of optimism prevailed among North American airlines as 2016 draws to a close. It is driven by the beginning of stabilised pricing in the US domestic market and an improved outlook for Western Canada after a marked drop in oil prices triggered a collapse in demand.