U.S./Canada joint venture to offer more choices for transborder flying

ATLANTA and CALGARY, Dec. 6, 2017 /CNW/ – Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) and WestJet (TSX: WJA) have agreed to deepen their existing partnership by entering into a comprehensive transborder joint venture that will increase travel choices between the U.S. and Canada.

WestJet Boeing 737 MAX 8 (CNW Group/WestJet)

The airlines have entered into a preliminary memorandum of understanding regarding their intention to deepen their existing partnership to form an commercial joint venture arrangement, which will offer customers access to an extensive transborder route network, world-class airline products, enhanced frequent flyer benefits, shared airport facilities and amenities, and a more seamless travel experience.

Highlights of the planned joint venture arrangement, subject to board approvals, execution of definitive agreements and applicable regulatory approvals, in the United States and Canada, include:

  • Coordinated flight schedules for new nonstop flights to new destinations, expanded codesharing and seamless and convenient connections on the airlines’ extensive networks in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Enhanced frequent flyer benefits including reciprocal benefits for top tier members of both airlines.

“With its strong brand and employee- and customer- centric culture, WestJet is the perfect partner for us in the U.S./Canada transborder segment and together we will produce great results for our respective employees, customers and investors” said Steve Sear, Delta’s President – International and Executive Vice President – Global Sales.  “We look forward to applying Delta’s experience building successful joint venture partnerships to this important segment of transborder travel, the second largest international segment for U.S. travel.”

“This agreement will bring heightened competition and an enriched product offering to the transborder segment, both of which will benefit our guests,” said Ed Sims, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial. “This is an important step in WestJet’s mission to become a global airline. We are delighted to be working with the premier U.S. carrier, Delta Air Lines, in this joint venture.”

Delta has a 25-year track record of partnering closely with airlines around the globe, beginning with the first successful transatlantic partnership, when Northwest and KLM launched their joint venture in 1993. With this agreement, Delta will have eight partnerships with leading carriers in the world’s biggest aviation segments spanning Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia and Canada. Through deep relationships and immunized joint ventures, Delta has successfully achieved many benefits of cross-border co-operation for its customers.

WestJet, Canada’s second-largest airline currently has 45 airline partners providing access to more than 175 destinations in over 20 countries. WestJet has also entered into a definitive purchase agreement for 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with the first aircraft expected to be delivered in January 2019. With one of the youngest fleets in the airline industry, WestJet continues its global growth while controlling operating costs and providing an award-winning guest experience.

Further information about Delta Air Lines and WestJet is available at delta.com and westjet.com.

Caution regarding forward-looking information

Certain information set forth in this document is “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Such forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to, information respecting: the proposed joint venture, and the parties’ intention to deepen their existing partnership; the anticipated benefits, amenities, and product offerings expected to be provided to customers as a result of the joint venture; the resulting impact on flight schedules, and other network effects; WestJet’s mission to become a global airline; and implementation of the joint venture following receipt of required approvals and execution of definitive agreements.

The forward-looking information contained in this document is based on certain material factors and assumptions, including, without limitation with respect to: the negotiation of definitive agreements relating to the joint venture on terms and conditions satisfactory to the parties; receipt, in a timely manner and on acceptable terms, of applicable regulatory approvals in respect of the transaction; board approvals being obtained; the anticipated benefits of the joint venture, including strategic and operational opportunities and benefits. Although WestJet and Delta believe that the expectations and assumptions on which such forward-looking statements are  based  are  reasonable,  undue  reliance  should  not  be  placed  on  the  forward‐looking  statements as WestJet and Delta can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct.

By its nature, forward-looking information is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond WestJet’s control. The risks and uncertainties that may impact WestJet include, but are not limited to: potential delays in obtaining applicable regulatory approvals; challenges to the proposed joint venture, or the imposition of conditions in respect thereof, by applicable regulatory authorities that reduce the anticipated benefits of the joint venture or prevent the implementation of such on satisfactory terms or at all; the ability of WestJet to successfully implement its strategic initiatives and whether such strategic initiatives will yield the expected benefits; the inherent uncertainties associated with new projects; changes in general economic and competitive conditions; operational risks inherent in implementing the joint venture including risks related to route scheduling and operations, network management, and information technology and reporting systems; and other factors and risks described in WestJet’s public reports and filings. Readers are urged to consult the risks set forth in WestJet’s annual information form and management’s discussion and analysis for the year ended December 31, 2016, which are each available under WestJet’s profile on SEDAR at sedar.com, for important additional information.

Readers are cautioned that undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking information as actual results may vary materially from the forward-looking information provided. WestJet does not undertake to update, correct or revise any forward-looking information as a result of any new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable law.

About Delta
Delta Air Lines serves more than 180 million customers each year. In 2017, Delta was named to Fortune’s top 50 Most Admired Companies in addition to being named the most admired airline for the sixth time in seven years. Additionally, Delta has ranked No.1 in the Business Travel News Annual Airline survey for an unprecedented seven consecutive years. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 306 destinations in 52 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs more than 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 800 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry’s leading transatlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia as well as a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights, with key hubs and markets including Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK and LaGuardia, LondonHeathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City, São Paulo, Seattle, Seoul, and TokyoNarita. Delta has invested billions of dollars in airport facilities, global products and services, and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Additional information is available on the Delta News Hub, as well as delta.com, Twitter @DeltaNewsHub, Google.com/+Delta, and Facebook.com/delta.

About WestJet
WestJet is proud to be named Best Airline in Canada and one of the best Low Cost Airlines in North America, based on authentic reviews from the travelling public on Trip Advisor, the world’s largest travel site. We are one of very few airlines globally that does not commercially overbook. Together with our regional airline, WestJet Encore, we offer scheduled service to more than 100 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe and to more than 175 destinations in over 20 countries through our airline partnerships. WestJet Vacations offers affordable, flexible vacations to more than 60 destinations and the choice of more than 800 hotels, resorts, condos and villas.  Members of the WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more. Members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of flights and vacations packages to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods, and have access to Member Exclusive fares offering deals to WestJet destinations throughout our network and those of our partner airlines.

WestJet is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the symbol WJA. For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.  

Recent recognition includes:
Best Low-Cost Airline – The Americas for 2018 (www.airlineratings.com)
2017 Five-Star Airline in the Low-Cost Category (The Airline Passenger Experience Association)
2017/2016 Canada’s Most Trusted Airline (Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria)
2017 Best Airline in Canada and Travellers’ Choice Winner Mid-Sized and Low Cost Airlines – North America (TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards for Airlines)
2016 Canada’s most reputable company for Corporate Social Responsibility (Reputation Institute)
2016/2015/2014/2013/2012 Ranked top three for Canadian Brands (Canadian Business Magazine)
2016/2015/2014/2013 WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard ranked #1 in Canada (MoneySense magazine)
2015/2011/2010/2008/2007/2006/2005 Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Culture (Waterstone Human Capital)
2015 Best Employers in Canada (Aon Hewitt)

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Delta Air Lines A319 (CNW Group/WestJet)

SOURCE WestJet