WestJet’s acquisition of Sunwing Airlines cleared for takeoff by Ottawa

WestJet Group’s takeover of vacation-focused rival Sunwing Airlines has been authorized by Canada’s transportation minister, clearing the runway for a serious shakeup within the airline trade.

Omar Alghabra gave the Liberal authorities’s official sign-off on the deal in a press launch on Friday afternoon, noting the choice “was not taken calmly.”

First introduced in March 2022, the deal will see Calgary-based WestJet purchase Toronto’s Sunwing in addition to its tour operation enterprise.

Alghabra hooked up a quantity of stipulations to the deal as circumstances for its approval geared toward addressing issues about diminished competitors and job losses because of this of the deal.


These embrace extending Sunwing trip packages to 5 new Canadian markets, although these cities weren’t specified within the launch. Different circumstances embrace investing in IT and baggage dealing with enhancements.

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Competitors Bureau raises issues surrounding WestJet, Sunwing deal

Monetary phrases of the acquisition between the 2 privately held airways haven’t been disclosed, although Sunwing shareholders would achieve a stake in WestJet’s enterprise.

Below the settlement, WestJet will create a brand new tour operator unit headed by Sunwing CEO Stephen Hunter that features Sunwing Holidays and WestJet Holidays as separate manufacturers.

The acquisition would enhance WestJet’s flight footprint to solar locations and resorts.

The federal Competitors Bureau has raised issues concerning the merger, arguing the deal will doubtless lead to greater costs and decreased service for Canadians.

The lower in competitors, significantly within the trip house the place the airways have overlapping routes, will have an effect on the charges Canadians are supplied for getaways, the watchdog mentioned in a letter to Alghabra final fall.

However Transport Canada mentioned not approving the acquisition would have led to better instability in Canada’s air sector, “together with job losses, a major discount of reasonably priced trip choices, destructive impacts on passengers, and the Authorities not being repaid sizable loans.”

“After contemplating the professionals and cons, we’ve got made the choice that may enable Sunwing to proceed to supply reasonably priced trip packages to Canadians, create extra good jobs, and shield present jobs in addition to Canadians who’ve already bought tickets,” Alghabra mentioned in an announcement.

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Ottawa’s stipulations for the deal state the mixed airways should keep capability on routes affected by the merger.

The bureau mentioned that the 2 airways signify two of the 4 largest suppliers of built-in trip packages in Canada and are the 2 largest gamers connecting Western Canada to solar locations.

Click to play video: 'WestJet plans to buy Sunwing Airlines'

WestJet plans to purchase Sunwing Airlines

WestJet has mentioned the acquisition will increase its total flight capability, as it might probably fly Sunwing jets on routes exterior of the airline’s conventional vacation schedules. The corporate has additionally mentioned it’s going to keep operations at Sunwing’s Toronto and Laval, Que., places of work.

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Amongst Alghabra’s circumstances was a assure that employment in Toronto would rise 20 per cent over the following three years and that the regional Sunwing places of work could be maintained.

Labour union Unifor had pushed the federal authorities to incorporate job protections for Sunwing workers as half of the deal’s approval. WestJet has argued the expanded flying alternatives with Sunwing’s jets will create extra jobs.

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Earlier this 12 months, WestJet introduced plans to refocus its operations to primarily service routes out of Western Canada.

The announcement comes as Canada’s airline trade struggles to regain footing after three years of disruptions within the pandemic.

Each airways are coming off a tough vacation season as effectively, which noticed quite a few flight delays and cancellations, chaos at airports and a whole lot of Sunwing passengers stranded in Mexico.

The chaos led Sunwing to cancel all its flights out of Saskatchewan for the remaining of the winter season.

— with recordsdata from The Canadian Press

&copy 2023 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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