Southwest Airlines and WestJet have announced a partnership that should see a significant expansion of route access for the airlines, thanks to planned codesharing and distribution agreements between the two. Similar to the arrangement that Southwest had with ATA prior to the latter’s bankruptcy earlier this year, passengers will be able to leverage the WestJet route network through purchases made from Southwest in the very near future, with codesharing added in to the mix at some point next year.
WestJet expects that this could result in a significant increase in traffic – up to $500MM per year worth. No word on the expected financial upside for Southwest, but the article I found it in is from a Canadian source, so no real surprise there.
This deal will bring back international destinations for Southwest passengers. The carrier only operates in the United States but the ATA partnership had provided access to Mexico previously. Now Canada is available, though no word on how the Rapid Rewards program will integrate with the WestJet partnership, either for earning or burning.
It is not surprising to see such strategic partnerships taking hold amongst airlines these days. Here’s hoping this one is beneficial to the passengers and the companies.
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