Two of Canada’s original low-cost carriers are coming together.
Canadian airline WestJet announced on Wednesday that it had reached a deal to acquire both Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines, bringing together two of the Canadian travel industry’s biggest names.
While details are still in the works, the deal, which is expected to close in late 2022, will see WestJet create a new tour operating company under the WestJet Group, which will include both Sunwing Vacations and WestJet Vacations. That company will be led by current Sunwing CEO Stephen Hunter and will be headquartered in Toronto, with The WestJet Group maintaining its head office in Calgary.
WestJet also promised in its announcement that Sunwing will operate under the WestJet Group of companies and that the deal will “increase capacity” for Sunwing, which will now be able to operate year-round in Canada instead of its previous seasonal schedules.
“This is an exciting moment for WestJet, Sunwing and Canada’s travel industry,” said Alexis von Hoensbroech, CEO of WestJet. “We are bringing together two highly complementary businesses with powerhouse brands to strengthen our successful leisure business and deliver greater value to our guests.”
“This combination brings together Canada’s two original low-cost carriers and positions us to accelerate growth in value-oriented travel, already the fastest-growing segment of the airline market. It creates new opportunities for our people, our operational partners and supports the recovery from a global pandemic that has been particularly challenging for the Canadian travel and tourism industry including local airports and businesses we work closely with,” added von Hoensbroech.
The news comes just under a year since news broke that Air Canada’s deal to buy Air Transat was called off due to regulatory pressure mainly from the European Commission. The WestJet-Sunwing deal will also have to go through a similar process in order to secure regulatory approval.