WestJet Airlines To Launch Low Cost Flights Through New Subsidiary Called ‘Swoop’

Federal regulators have cleared WestJet Airlines to launch an ultra low-cost airline, and the Calgary-based company says it could begin offering discounted flights this week.

Called “Swoop,” the new no frills, low fare airline is an offshoot of WestJet Airlines, and is scheduled to take its maiden flight between Hamilton, Ontario and Abbotsford, British Columbia on Wednesday (June 20).

By discounting air travel, Swoop, Flair Airlines and other discount carriers that are emerging in Canada are trying to attract the five million Canadians who cross the border to catch flights at airports in Buffalo and Plattsburgh, New York, as well as Birmingham, Washington, where fares are much cheaper – even in American dollars.

Airline sector analysts expect competition in Canada will increase significantly over the next year as Canada Jetlines gears up to join Swoop and Flair in offering discounted fares along with charges for everything from an onboard drink to carry-on luggage and checked baggage.

However, Swoop is entering an area of the airline business that doesn't have a history of success in Canada. Past discount airlines such as Jetsgo, Air Canada Tango, Canada 3000 and Roots Air have all failed to take off. Today, Canada is the only G7 country without a true national ultra low-cost carrier. The airline business model has proved successful in Europe, Australia and the United States but has never caught on in Canada.