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

Blue bags are out for curbside recyling and blue bins are in

Use your own bin or the one the city gave you, but no more bags, please, except for shredding

Fraser Valley fire departments form ‘strike teams’ to combat wildfires

Boston Bar, Chilliwack River Valley and Popkum departments form strike teams to fight wildfires

RCMP nab prolific car thief in Agassiz after month-long search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

Traffic snarls at Agassiz/Harrison bridge after biker falls on road

A road bicyclist fell from his bike while crossing the bridge and needed medical attention

Complaint about cattle prods at Chilliwack rodeo

Fair reps investigate after Vancouver Humane Society pics show shocking device at bullriding event

First responders, police march in funeral procession for Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

These are the highest-paid actresses of 2018

In its list released this week Forbes said all 10 earned a total of $186 million before tax

VIDEO: World of Magic coming to Vancouver

Seven magic shows will appear at the Vancouver Playhouse from September 7 to 9

Most Read