Ultra-low-cost airline set to Swoop into B.C.

New WestJet subsidiary will take off in 2018

Canada’s newest ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) could soon swoop into Abbotsford.

On Wednesday, WestJet revealed the name and hot-pink logo for its subsidiary, Swoop. It will begin selling tickets for summer flights in February, according to Bob Cummings, WestJet’s executive vice-president responsible for the company’s launch.

READ: Comox Airport readies itself for WestJet’s new low-cost carrier

Swoop will leverage WestJet’s infrastructure and fly 10 Boeing 787-800 planes with 189 seats each, Cummings said. A ticket will only buy a seat with an extra fee likely charged for luggage, priority seating, extra leg-room and even in-flight entertainment.

“You pay for exactly what you want and will get value from,” he said.

Cummings would not confirm whether or not Swoop would be flying in and out of Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) but said it’s “a tremendous airport that fits very well with the ULCC model.”

“For competitive reasons, we won’t be absolutely disclosing the cities and the network until our booking launch day in February,” he said.

But the airport’s general manager seemed confident.

“It looks like [Swoop] will be in Abbotsford,” said Parm Sidhu, the Abbotsford Airport’s general manager.

Sidhu said YXX is perfectly suited to serve a ULCC like Swoop and anticipates it will get “new people flying” who aren’t able to afford conventional airlines. He said he expects operations to take off in June 2018.

WestJet has studied the ULCC model around the world, particularly in the U.S., Cummings said. There, he said, bargain airlines like Spirit and Allegiant typically charge 50 per cent less than Canadian airlines for flights of the same distance.

“You won’t see quite those levels of discounts [from Swoop], but we’re building a cost structure to get towards those kinds of discounts and average-fare levels that are quite substantially lower and, I’ll say, game-changing or disruptive in the Canadian market,” Cummings said.

Swoop hopes to “repatriate” some cross-border “leakage” to those American competitors by offering a price they can’t refuse closer to home, Cummings said.

Cummings reiterated that Swoop’s flight network won’t be disclosed until the new year, even declining to comment on whether it would run flights to and from its home base in Calgary, but said they hope to fly to southern B.C., southern Ontario and other “larger cities or regions in Canada.”


@KelvinGawley
kelvin.gawley@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

If it snows, move your car

Streets in Mission that have cars parked on them, won’t get plowed this winter

Man accused of shooting at border agents loses final bid to appeal extradition order

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford following cross-border manhunt in 2013

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Abbotsford man charged with two child porn offences

Investigation against Jeremy Allen Willms, 42, began in April

Andy Sidhu appointed new chancellor at UFV

Third person to take on university role, first established in 2008

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Update: Small fire near Maple Ridge tent city

Occurred outside camp Wednesday night

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15- to 19-year-olds, including one in Vernon

Military life gives way to chance as author

Retired Chilliwack officer pens book about life in Afghanistan

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Most Read