Delta Air Lines and WestJet have signed a definitive agreement to create a comprehensive trans-border joint venture (JV) arrangement to offer customers a wider route network within the US and Canada.
The agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed last December announcing the intention to form the JV, and will also expand the existing codeshare partnership between the carriers. “Delta’s future is global and together with WestJet, we can augment the two airlines’ capabilities and bring together our strengths in this important trans-border market,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO.
He added the two airlines would be able to offer more destinations with an integrated network, improved airport connections and an “unmatched passenger experience for customers travelling between the US and Canada.”
The JV will provide trans-border service to more than 30 cities covering over 95% of US-Canada demand, and the airlines say the agreement will enable Delta and WestJet to compete more effectively against other carriers.
“WestJet continues its drive toward becoming a global airline, and the signing of this agreement marks a major milestone in that journey,” said Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO, adding that the carrier looked forward to working with Delta to provide “enhanced offerings and more choice for guests.”
“The joint venture will allow us to maximise our existing partnership with Delta to benefit customers by bringing greater competition to the trans-border market,” he said.
Upon receipt of regulatory approvals in Canada and the US, Delta and WestJet will work together to implement all aspects of the enhanced co-operation. These include expanded codesharing, more closely aligned frequent flyer programme and reciprocal elite benefits, joint growth across their US/Canada trans-border network, and co-location at key hubs with more seamless passenger and baggage transit.
The agreement will also include the ability to co-operate on cargo accompanying passenger flights as well as corporate contracts.