The FINANCIAL — Delta Air Lines and WestJet have agreed to deepen their existing partnership by entering into a comprehensive transborder joint venture that will increase travel choices between the U.S. and Canada.
The airlines have entered into a preliminary memorandum of understanding regarding their intention to deepen their existing partnership to form a commercial joint venture arrangement, which will offer customers access to an extensive transborder route network, world-class airline products, enhanced frequent flyer benefits, shared airport facilities and amenities, and a more seamless travel experience, according to Delta.
Highlights of the planned joint venture arrangement, subject to board approvals, execution of definitive agreements and applicable regulatory approvals, in the United States and Canada, include:
Coordinated flight schedules for new nonstop flights to new destinations, expanded codesharing, and seamless and convenient connections on the airlines’ extensive networks in the U.S. and Canada.
Enhanced frequent flyer benefits including reciprocal benefits for top-tier members of both airlines.
“With its strong brand and employee- and customer-centric culture, WestJet is the perfect partner for us in the U.S.-Canada transborder segment and together we will produce great results for our respective employees, customers and investors,” said Steve Sear, Delta’s President – International and Executive Vice President – Global Sales. “We look forward to applying Delta’s experience building successful joint venture partnerships to this important segment of transborder travel, the second-largest international segment for U.S. travel.”
“This agreement will bring heightened competition and an enriched product offering to the transborder segment, both of which will benefit our guests,” said Ed Sims, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial. “This is an important step in WestJet’s mission to become a global airline. We are delighted to be working with the premier U.S. carrier, Delta Air Lines, in this joint venture.”
Delta has a 25-year track record of partnering closely with airlines around the globe, beginning with the first successful trans-Atlantic partnership, when Northwest and KLM launched their joint venture in 1993. With this agreement, Delta will have eight partnerships with leading carriers in the world’s biggest aviation segments spanning Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia and Canada. Through deep relationships and immunized joint ventures, Delta has successfully achieved many benefits of cross-border cooperation for its customers.
WestJet, Canada’s second-largest airline, currently has 45 airline partners providing access to more than 175 destinations in more than 20 countries. WestJet has also entered into a definitive purchase agreement for 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with the first aircraft expected to be delivered in January 2019. With one of the youngest fleets in the airline industry, WestJet continues its global growth while controlling operating costs and providing an award-winning guest experience.