Low-cost carrier to Swoop will no longer exist in its current form once it’s wholly rolled into WestJet this fall.
WestJet on Friday announced that it had reached an agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the union representing WestJet and Swoop pilots. The deal came with the news that Swoop will cease to operate its existing network after Oct. 28, a date that WestJet has earmarked for the full integration of Swoop into its own network.
After then, Swoop employees are expected to move to WestJet, while the Swoop brand meets its end. It is not yet clear whether WestJet will gain all of Swoop’s existing routes, or if they’ll be some kind of consolidation between the two networks, but the expectation is that Swoop, which is just about five years old, will cease to exist.
"The WestJet Group is confident in the outcome of this negotiated decision and the path forward to integrate Swoop into WestJet's operations,” Alexis von Hoensbroech, WestJet Group, CEO, said in an announcement on Friday afternoon.
"We continue our strategy toward providing reliable, affordable travel across the WestJet Group, leveraging the valuable experiences and learnings from the Swoop business model. This integration will enhance our ability to serve a broader spectrum of guests. Instead of only 16 aircraft serving the ultra-low-cost market, each aircraft, in our 180-strong fleet, will offer ultra-affordable travel options through to a premium inflight experience,” he added.
There had been speculation that a pending ALPA agreement could mean the end of Swoop—sources speaking to CityNews last month said that talks between ALPA and WestJet were including terms that Swoop must be fully integrated into WestJet—but it had not yet been confirmed until today.
The ALPA agreement was reached at the 11th hour last month, averting a possible pilot strike that would have caused chaos for passengers. WestJet pilots had been pushing for a new contract with “job security and career progression,” along with better pay and scheduling. The agreement is in effect from January 1, 2023, and will be in place until December 31, 2026.