U.S. government approves WestJet-Delta alliance, with conditions

U.S. government approves WestJet-Delta alliance, with conditions

WASHINGTON, Wash — The. U.S. Department of Transportation has granted tentative approval of the alliance agreement between WestJet and Delta Air Lines.

Already approved by Canada’s Competition Bureau in summer 2019, the transborder joint venture will allow the airlines to coordinate services, including network planning, pricing and sales activities.

The department plans to grant the airlines immunity from antitrust laws, which would normally prevent competitors from working together so closely. Capacity is expected to be expanded on some existing routes while some services will be introduced on new routes that will increase travel options to and from Canada.

One condition of approval is the removal of WestJet discount carrier Swoop from the alliance and the selling of 16 slots at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

It was not immediately clear whether the government’s conditions will be acceptable to the airlines. A Delta spokesman said the Atlanta-based airline was reviewing the proposal and had no further comment. A WestJet spokeswoman said the airlines would respond to the Transportation Department.

On Twitter, WestJet said that it is “taking some time to review the details” and that it’s pleased that the Department has issued ‘Show Cause Order,’ one of the last steps needed to approving the joint venture.

The joint venture would expand a partnership between the two airlines that goes back several years and includes selling seats on each other’s flights. The airlines have said the deal will include new nonstop flights to new destinations and better reciprocal benefits for members of their frequent-flyer programs.

Delta has other joint ventures with foreign airlines including Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air, Air France-KLM and Aeromexico.

The Transportation Department said it will review the Delta-WestJet venture in five years.


With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

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