WestJet Group to Acquire Sunwing Airlines

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A twelvemonth ago, WestJet announced its plans to get Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines. Since then, the woody has been going done regulatory support processes, arsenic good arsenic an appraisal from the Competition Bureau.

Late past week, the woody moved 1 measurement person to completion, arsenic it received the enactment of the national government, albeit with a fistful of conditions. While the woody isn’t last conscionable yet, it’s 1 measurement person to being realized.

WestJet to Buy Sunwing

On March 10, 2023, the national authorities gave its enactment to WestJet for acquiring Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations. This measurement marks 1 of the last hurdles to the woody finalizing, which is expected to hap successful Spring 2023.

Following the planetary pandemic, WestJet’s acquisition of Sunwing represents consolidation successful the Canadian question manufacture arsenic it recovers from the impacts of the past 3 years.

WestJet, which besides owns the ultra-low-cost bearer Swoop Airlines, intends to connection further competitory airfares and affordable abrogation packages with its acquisition Sunwing, challenging Air Canada’s ascendant presumption successful the market.

WestJet intends to get Sunwing Airlines

Currently, Sunwing Airlines offers flights from Canada to warm-weather destinations including the US, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America, arsenic good arsenic home routes astatine assorted points passim the year.

Now, with the acquisition by WestJet, Sunwing’s different seasonal craft tin beryllium operated year-round wrong Canada, achieving greater operational efficiencies with WestJet’s existing fleet and network. 

Together, WestJet and Sunwing relationship for astir 37% of non-stop capableness betwixt Canada and Sun destinations. From Western Canada, they relationship for 72% of non-stop capableness to Sun destinations.

It’s worthy noting that Air Canada had antecedently announced its volition to bargain leisure-oriented hose Air Transat successful June 2019, but yet scrapped the woody owed to trouble with regulatory approvals from the European Commission.

Unlike the Air Canada/Air Transat deal, the WestJet/Sunwing merger isn’t taxable to regulatory support extracurricular of Canada. Therefore, determination shouldn’t beryllium immoderate further regulatory roadblocks to forestall the acquisition from proceeding.

Conditions Placed connected Sunwing Acquisition

While the woody has present been fixed the greenish airy to proceed by the national government, it came with a fig of conditions that volition request to beryllium followed.

Recall that some WestJet and Sunwing person faced a fig of operational challenges successful the caller past that near galore travellers stranded distant from location oregon with cancelled itineraries for flights that nary longer run to their location metropolis oregon province.

Many passengers were besides frustrated by a deficiency of connection from the airlines erstwhile question plans were affected, often being near to fend for themselves. 

It appears that immoderate of the conditions placed connected this acquisition are meant to code these issues, adjacent arsenic the national authorities has promised to bolster Canada’s anemic Air Passenger Protection Regulations.

Some highlights of the conditions placed connected WestJet’s acquisition of Sunwing and Sunwing Vacations are arsenic follows:

  • Sunwing indispensable widen abrogation bundle offerings to 5 caller Canadian cities
  • Capacity indispensable beryllium maintained connected routes astir affected by the merger
  • Regional connectivity indispensable increase
  • Baggage handling indispensable beryllium improved for a amended rider experience
  • Sunwing indispensable put successful IT exertion solutions to amended their communications

In the caller past, WestJet has been concentrating its efforts successful Western Canada portion moving distant from Eastern Canada. Additionally, Sunwing cancelled work from Saskatchewan for a play of time, leaving galore passengers without a sunny vacation during the wintertime months.

The conditions placed connected the woody volition hopefully remediate galore of the issues that person affected passengers successful the past, though it remains to beryllium seen if the wide rider acquisition volition so beryllium improved.

Other conditions placed connected the woody see Sunwing maintaining offices successful Toronto and Montreal for astatine slightest 5 years, supplying airfare information connected abrogation packages to show post-acquisition terms trends, and yet ending Sunwing’s seasonal leasing signifier to support Canadian jobs.

There are a fig of conditions placed connected WestJet’s acquisition of Sunwing

It’s besides worthy noting that the Competition Bureau had expressed concerns astir this acquisition backmost successful the fall, stating that it volition apt effect successful accrued prices, reduced choice, decreased services, and a important simplification successful leisure question successful the overlap markets.

Only clip volition archer if the Bureau’s concerns are substantiated, but with the national authorities giving the go-ahead to the woody with a fig of conditions, hopefully the concerns volition person been decently addressed. 

What Could This Mean for WestJet Rewards?

While we’ll person to hold to spot the eventual implications from a question outgo and loyalty perspective, it’s worthy reasoning astir what the Sunwing woody could awesome astir the aboriginal intentions of Canada’s second-largest airline.

If the woody goes through, we could perchance spot WestJet Rewards and WestJet Dollars becoming redeemable connected Sunwing flights and Sunwing Vacations successful the future. This would unfastened up immoderate caller destinations that WestJet Dollars tin beryllium utilized to book, arsenic Sunwing has much flights to Sun destinations than immoderate different leisure carrier.

Indeed, with galore changes since the airline’s acquisition by Onex successful 2019, the WestJet Rewards programme has already been moving successful the absorption of offering greater wide entreaty with minimal value down the program, alternatively than needfully high-value rewards.

The integration of Sunwing, a low-cost leisure airline, would lone beryllium a further measurement successful that absorption – 1 that’s diametrically other to the much full-service way that WestJet had appeared to beryllium funny successful pursuing a fewer years agone with their acquisition of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, expanded way network, and elevated onboard and lounge offerings. 

What does the aboriginal clasp for WestJet Rewards with the Sunwing acquisition?

One thing’s for sure: the combined radical of airlines would beryllium well-positioned to vie connected adjacent much fronts against Air Canada, particularly arsenic leisure question is inactive poised to instrumentality a greater stock of the marketplace successful the coming years. 

However, WestJet’s absorption of a rival successful the marketplace represents a large consolidation astatine the manufacture level, truthful portion WestJet and Sunwing whitethorn beryllium keen to play up their communal low-cost space connected the nationalist relations front, lone clip volition archer whether the competitory airfares and affordable abrogation packages bash successful information materialize. 

With young upstarts similar Flair Airlines, Lynx Air, and Canada Jetlines acceptable to support the bigger players connected their toes, we’ll person to hold and spot however things play retired pursuing the takeover’s completion to measure the wide interaction connected the Canadian airfare and loyalty landscape.


WestJet has moved 1 measurement person successful its plans to get Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations, representing an upcoming consolidation of Canada’s second- and fifth-largest airlines. Late past week, the national authorities announced its enactment of the deal, which came with a fig of strict conditions.

With its acquisition of Sunwing, WestJet appears to beryllium continuing down to the roadworthy of re-embracing its low-cost origins alternatively than moving upmarket towards a much premium identity.

Overall, this quality is an illustration of the large shifts successful aviation that were ever an inevitable effect of the planetary pandemic, with Canada’s manufacture is acceptable to instrumentality connected a much-transformed quality arsenic we proceed distant successful a satellite without pandemic-related barriers.

The station WestJet Group to Acquire Sunwing Airlines appeared archetypal connected Prince of Travel by Ricky Zhang.

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