Formerly low-cost carrier WestJet, is set to launch an All-New “ultra-low-cost airline” called Swoop in June of 2018.
“The name Swoop denotes exactly what we plan to do,” said Bob Cummings WestJet executive vice-president, strategy and the executive member responsible for the launch of Swoop. “It’s a powerful verb that demonstrates we plan to swoop in to the Canadian market with a new business model that will provide lower fares and greater opportunity for more Canadians to travel.”
“You are paying for a seat so, flexibility, convenience, comfort features, if you want extra legroom and so forth, it is unbundled, you’ll be paying for those extras, however, we’ll be making it extremely easy up front and communicating very clearly with respect to paying for the extras and buying those at point of sale. Whatever you choose to add beyond the seat, that’s your choice.”
Swoop will get travellers into seats at cheap prices, but expect to pay for any and all extras like carry-on luggage, checked baggage, priority boarding, in-flight entertainment, extended leg-room seats and choosing a seat. Featuring advertising within the cabin is not off-limits to Swoop.
Cummings said Swoop’s model will be similar to ultra-low cost carriers in the U.S..
“We won’t be coming out of the gate with that high of ancillary revenues, so our fares won’t be quite 50% lower (as seen in the United States)… We’ll have potentially up to 40% lower fares, depending on the market and time of the year,” Cummings said. “That’s pretty indicative of what we’ll be aiming for.”
Initially the airline will have six Boeing 737-800 airplanes and plans to expand to 10 planes within the first year. The carrier will be based in Calgary and begin flying next summer – selling seats at up to 40% cheaper than those currently available in Canada.
Cummings confirmed that Swoop will fly in and out of the Abbotsford Airport, located southeast of Vancouver, and that there are ongoing discussions with major airports in Canada as well as the Hamilton, Waterloo and Windsor airports. The goal, he said, is it launch progressive partnerships with airports that will also “repatriate some of the Canadians going across the border” to access cheaper flights.
Swoop’s inventory will be marketed and booked solely on its own website – www.flyswoop.com
Swoop will have some competition when it launches.
Earlier this month Vancouver-based Canada Jetlines announced its plans to fly from Hamilton and Waterloo, ON – starting June 1, 2018, serving Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Halifax. The carrier said its base fares will be priced below $100 Cdn. They will also be using (two) Boeing 737-800’s. Jetlines also plans on offering the first 1,000 tickets sold for $10.
Other low-cost carriers already in the Canadian market including Enerjet and Flair Air (formerly NewLeaf)
Air Canada has said it is prepared to respond to the new competition, by offering an ultra-low-cost fare in areas where ULCCs have entered the market.
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