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WestJet in Talks with Air France over Strategic Partnership

Nov. 19, 2007, Calgary, Alta. - Calgary-based airline is talking about teaming up with Air France, a National Bank Financial analyst says.


November 19, 2007
By Carey Fredericks

Nov. 19, 2007, Calgary, Alta. – Air Canada should be able to co-exist with
WestJet Airlines Ltd. in the Canadian market despite a
report that the smaller, Calgary-based airline is talking about
teaming up with Air France, a National Bank Financial analyst says.

While WestJet may snatch some Europe-bound flyers from Air
Canada, it still won't be able to offer long-haul flights to Asia on
its smaller fleet of aircraft, said David Newman in an interview
Monday.

“We often forget that Air Canada does have a strong
international platform,'' he said, adding the airline is set to
receive new 777 and 787 aircraft over the next few years, while
WestJet doesn't have planes that large in its fleet.

“Obviously, you can't fly a 737 to Asia.''

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A report in the Globe and Mail on Monday said WestJet and Air
France have been talking about co-operating on services like baggage
transfer.

Under the potential agreement, WestJet would accept inbound Air
France electronic tickets by the middle of next year and Air France
would accept outbound WestJet electronic tickets by the end of 2008,
industry sources told the newspaper.

At midday, WestJet shares were trading at $19.40, down 15 cents
from Friday. Air Canada shares were off about by two per cent,
trading at $13.25 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.