Delta strikes joint venture deal with Canadian carrier WestJet


Delta Air Lines announced Wednesday it has struck an agreement for a joint venture with Canadian carrier WestJet.

The deal, if approved by the companies’ boards and regulatory authorities, would deepen a partnership between the two carriers. WestJet and Atlanta-based Delta have had a code-share marketing partnership since 2012, and have agreed to a preliminary memorandum of understanding for a joint venture.

The two carriers aim to get antitrust immunity, which would allow them to coordinate on schedules and pricing on flights between the U.S. and Canada to better compete against rivals. Canada’s largest carrier is Air Canada, which is a United Airlines partner.

For Delta passengers, the deal would mean a more “seamless” experience when traveling between the U.S. and Canada and connecting to WestJet flights, when using frequent flier miles between the two carriers, accessing airport lounges and making transfers, according to Delta international president Steve Sear. WestJet’s operations in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto offer connecting points for Delta travelers, he said. WestJet does not fly to Delta’s largest hub in Atlanta.

The U.S.-to-Canada market is the second-largest international market from the United States, “with a very rich base of business and leisure customers,” Sear said. Mexico is the largest international market from the U.S.

Sear expects the process for regulatory approvals from the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Justice and Canadian authorities to be complete by early 2019.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines had struck a deal in 2008 to partner with WestJet, but Southwest pulled out of the deal in 2010 due to differences over terms of the deal. The deal soured after Southwest said it was surprised to learn from media reports that WestJet was discussing a partnership with Delta.

While there are limits on cross-border airline mergers, joint ventures offer a way for airlines to broaden their international footprint. The deals can also reduce competition in international markets.

For WestJet, the tie-up is an opportunity to expand from its roots as a low-cost Canadian carrier into a larger airline with global reach.

Delta already has joint venture deals with other airlines around the world, including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Korean Air, Aeromexico and Air France-KLM. It also has investments in some foreign carriers, including Brazilian carrier GOL and China Eastern, and joint venture partners Virgin Atlantic, Air France and Aeromexico.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Subscribe or buy – what’s the best model for software?
Subscribe or buy – what’s the best model for software?

Here’s a deal: You buy a new car, and during the year you get a new one free. With that business model, car companies would soon go broke. It’s a different matter with computer software. As providers are transitioning to yearly subscriptions, they’re offering free upgrades during the year. Well, they’re not exactly free &mdash...
Portable hot seat, a fan favorite
Portable hot seat, a fan favorite

Surviving the cold at football games and other events will be a lot more comfortable and luxurious with the new Hot Seat from Pro Design. The Kickstart campaign just started for what Pro Design calls the world’s first heated stadium chair. With USB-powered ThermaGridz technology, your bottom will stay cozy warm with the heat, which will penetrate...
Insomniac Games’ ‘Spider-Man’ swings into fun
Insomniac Games’ ‘Spider-Man’ swings into fun

The Peter Parker that Insomniac Games and Marvel Entertainment have crafted in the new “Spider-Man” game is nothing like the one we’ve seen in previous games, or in the many movies. In this Sony-published PlayStation 4 exclusive, Insomniac has crafted the best interactive Spidey adventure ever. And that’s saying a lot, given...
Mental health tech start-up NeuroFlow raises $1.2 M
Mental health tech start-up NeuroFlow raises $1.2 M

NeuroFlow, the Philadelphia start-up trying to foster more engagement between therapists and their patients through technology, has raised another $1.2 million with expectations that total subscription will soon reach $1.5 million, the company announced recently. The money is from a group of investors led by Jumpstart NJ Angel Network that also includes...
CNET: Great phones with dual cameras
CNET: Great phones with dual cameras

Phones with two cameras on the back have been around for years (think 2011’s HTC Evo 3D). Thanks to a few heavy-hitting flagships that rolled out over the last year or two, the dual-camera setup may be here to stay. Check out four of CNET’s picks for the best dual-camera phones out there. ——— Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Product...
More Stories