WestJet has announced that it plans to launch a new, ultra-low-cost-carrier (ULCC) later this year.
While smaller airlines like NewLeaf and the up-and-coming Jetlines have broken into the ULCC market in Canada, and Air Canada Rouge provides more affordable tickets to holiday destinations, WestJet is an international airline with plans to appeal specifically to the ULCC travel option.
“We have built WestJet from its low-cost, regional roots into a renowned, international airline with service to 21 countries and today it’s all about disrupting at the price-sensitive end of the market,” said Clive Beddoe, co-founder of WestJet and Chair of the Board of the Directors. “Launching a ULCC will broaden WestJet’s growth opportunities and open new market segments by offering more choice to those Canadians looking for lower fares.”
To keep ticket costs low, ULCCs are known for providing passengers with the bare minimum of a seat on a plane to get from point A to point B.
Lower fares mean less comforts – ULCCs typically add seats to their planes, which reduces legroom, and charge extra for additional features like snacks.
WestJet has not yet revealed their pricing for these features.
“The worldview on low-cost airlines has changed since the launch of WestJet in 1996 and we are responding,” commented Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO. “The complete unbundling of services and products in order to lower fares for the price-sensitive traveller has created the ULCC category and our new airline will provide Canadians a pro-competitive, cheap and cheerful flying experience from a company with a proven track record.”
ULCCs are undeniably wallet-friendly, and great for travellers who are willing to forego small comforts on their trip.
Service is expected to start in late 2017 with an initial fleet of 10 high-density Boeing 737-800s designed by the airline that first brought low-cost air travel to Canada in 1996. The ULCC plans to provide Canadians with no-frills, lower-cost travel options.