Westjet dealing to become internatonal player
By CBC News
Dec. 14, 2010, Calgary - WestJet is making deals with other air carriers that may set the stage to make it an international player. WestJet has just signed an agreement with British Airways, which is also in search of potential international partners. British Airways recently merged with Spain's national airline, Iberia.
By CBC News
The WestJet-British Airways deal will allow the airlines to work together on baggage handling and other tasks, making it easier for travellers to transfer from one carrier to the other.
The agreement is what is known as an interline pact, which can pave the way for code-share deals that enable airlines to sell seats on one another's planes using the same two-digit code.
WestJet spokesman Robert Palmer told CBC News that the airline has "five or six" such deals in the works, but none of them is ready to be announced. He said neither WestJet nor British Airways would be commenting until their deal is activated in the new year, and seats are available.
Rick Erickson, of RP Erickson & Associates, said he's convinced WestJet is setting the stage to eventually leap onto the international scene.
"I do think that WestJet is going international. It's probably 30 months off, 36 months off before they make the announcement. And it could be another year or two after that before they actually do it. But I do think that they are going to go international," Erickson said.
WestJet has code-share deals with Air France-KLM and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, and an interline pact with American Airlines.
With British Airways now in the mix, there aren't many more pieces WestJet needs to complete the puzzle, Erickson said.
"When you look at the world travel map as to where Canadians tend to want to get to, they've pretty much got it covered off now," he said.
WestJet is reportedly in talks with Emirates Airline about a potential deal, which would "certainly close off one of the last secondary markets," Erickson said.