Air Transat, WestJet sign codeshare agreement on select routes - what’s next?

Air Transat, WestJet sign codeshare agreement on select routes – what’s next?

MONTREAL — Air Transat and WestJet have signed a codeshare agreement on select transatlantic routes.

The codeshare agreement is scheduled to start in early 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.

Codeshares will be available on select flights to Europe with Air Transat, and WestJet flights in North America, to allow both carriers to offer the connecting transatlantic itineraries. “More details and benefits” will be coming once finalized, say the carriers.

Says Annick Guérard, President and CEO of Transat: “We are very excited to join forces with WestJet in what I am sure will be a successful collaboration. This agreement is a first milestone in our strategy to grow and strengthen our network through alliances. It will create great opportunities for our existing and future customers, who are looking to connect between North America and Europe and will enhance our long-standing presence on the transatlantic market.”

Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO, says: ”This new codeshare with Air Transat complements our world-class Boeing 787 Dreamliners and our strong relationships with leading European airlines. Confidence in travel is building and this new transatlantic cooperation will allow WestJet to offer even more destinations to travellers, connecting North America and Europe in new ways, and benefiting guests on both sides of the Atlantic.”

This is the first news of Transat forging ties with a competitor since its proposed merger with Air Canada. That deal, two years in the making, was terminated in April 2021 amid the turbulence of the pandemic and delayed sign-off from the European Commission.

Just days before the May 16, 2019 Air Canada – Transat proposed acquisition announcement, rumours were circulating that WestJet, in a recent acquisition deal of its own with Onex Corp., might be interested in Transat.

In July 2020, in the early months of travel’s shutdown due to COVID-19, Transat cancelled all of its flights from Western Canada to south and USA destinations.

In August 2020, in an exclusive interview with Travelweek, Joe Adamo, Chief Distribution Officer, Transat and President, TDC, said the decision to cancel the Western Canada program was “very painful”, adding that streamlining the focus to Ontario and Quebec would help the company move forward during the pandemic.

WestJet’s strong network in Western Canada will no doubt help Transat with its cross-Canada reach to generate more transatlantic traffic. And while WestJet has pushed ahead with many transatlantic routes of its own, it can now take advantage of Air Transat’s long-established transatlantic routes as well.

We wanted to know, could there be more codesharing to come if this venture proves successful? And have Air Transat and WestJet broached the possibility of other forms of partnership as well?

Transat spokesperson Odette Trottier told Travelweek: “As we refocus on our airline business, one of the objectives of our new strategic plan is to expand our network. And one of the ways we’re going to do that is to work with other airlines. This agreement is a first milestone in that strategy, which certainly paves the way for others in the future. We had said that we were engaging in a number of discussions towards entering into airline partnership agreements, this is the first result of those discussions. We are looking forward to announce others when the time comes.”