A proposed alliance between Canada’s second largest air carrier, WestJet, and Delta Air Lines has been tentatively approved by the U. S. Department of Transportation. When fully implemented, travel options between the U.S. and Canada will greatly increase in both directions as travelers will be able to seamlessly fly the two airlines with combined booking and interline benefits.
For Delta customers flying to Canada from Minneapolis/St. Paul, they will be able to book WestJet flights throughout Canada from Delta’s arrival cities of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal. There will be no need to issue separate tickets and checked baggage will be transferred between the two carriers.
WestJet offers domestic flights from coast-to-coast within Canada, though its service to the Atlantic Northeast has been scaled back for the winter months due to limited demand. The carrier’s fleet includes the Boeing 737-Next Generation model and when it returns to service, the Boeing 737MAX. WestJet also flies the Boeing 767, 787 Dreamliner, and for service to smaller markets, the Bombardier Q400 turboprop.
As part of the tentative approval, Delta must release 16 departure and arrival slots at New York’s LaGuardia Airport for use by other airlines. Furthermore, WestJet’s ultra-low-cost affiliate airline, Swoop, may not be a part of the new relationship.
A combination of WestJet and Delta would have a 27% share of the U.S./Canada transborder capacity, with Air Canada remaining the dominant force with 45%.
After Mexico, Canada is the largest international air travel market for the U.S. Toronto is far and away the largest Canadian destination for U.S. fliers, with more than half of the demand cross-border. Pre-COVID capacity has increased more than 15% annually for the last five years, to a total of 39 million annual seats being offered between the two nations. Specifically, the New York-Toronto route accounts for 6% of all flights from the U.S. to Canada, and is the second-largest U.S. international air market.