CALGARY — The WestJet Group has announced that it has completed its acquisition of Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations.
Originally announced in March 2022, the transaction successfully combines two of Canada’s biggest airlines. The federal government had given the deal the green light in March 2023, with Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra saying that it would “provide affordable vacation packages to Canadians, create more good jobs, and protect current jobs as well as Canadians who have already purchased tickets.”
Initially, the airlines will continue independent operations, maintaining a sharp focus on providing an exceptional guest experience and ensuring safe operations. As the two entities transition from competitors to collaborators, the combination of these businesses will be planned in a way that positions Sunwing as an instrumental pillar of the WestJet Group, and prioritizes the experience of a growing number of guests, said Alexis von Hoensbroech, Chief Executive Officer of the WestJet Group.
“As we have set out on our new strategic trajectory for the WestJet Group, investing further in leisure and sun flying across Canada is a critical driver for growth. It brings me great pleasure to welcome Sunwing to the group, adding 18 Boeing 737s, 2,000 employees and Canada’s largest vacation tour operator and significantly expanding our footprint in Eastern Canada. Together, we will strategically enhance our sun and leisure offerings to bring even more affordable and accessible travel opportunities to Canadians,” said von Hoensbroech.
Stephen Hunter, formerly the CEO of Sunwing Vacations, has been appointed CEO of the WestJet Group’s Vacations Business, responsible for all tour operating and vacation package businesses of both the Sunwing Vacations and WestJet Vacations brands.
“The combination of our complementary businesses marks an important milestone that will enable us to fast-track our growth plans and provide Canadians with more affordable vacations to more destinations than ever before,” said Stephen Hunter, CEO of the WestJet Group’s Vacations Business. “I am thrilled to join forces with WestJet and, in doing so, create even more opportunities for our people and deliver greater value for Canadian travellers.”
As previously announced, the WestJet Group’s newly combined tour operator businesses, comprised of WestJet Vacations and Sunwing Vacations, will be headquartered in Toronto, Ontario and will continue to operate a Montreal office. In the coming years, the Vacations Business expects to facilitate new flying and new employment opportunities by retaining Sunwing’s aircraft in Canada year-round, among other sources of anticipated growth.