WestJet 'Swoop's in with its ultra-low cost carrier

Swoop enters the Canadian ultra-low-cost carrier market. (CNW Group/WestJet)

Not one to be left out of the trend, WestJet has announced what it’s foray into the ultra-low cost carrier market will be called.

Following on the launch of airlines like Flair Airlines (formerly New Leaf) and Jetlines,  WestJet has given a name to its ULCC brand: Swoop.

It’s got a new logo and livery too; fluorescent pink embellishments will adorn the planes, a radical departure from the teal-and-blue look typically seen on WestJet planes. Fares are expected to be 40 per cent cheaper than typical WestJet flights.

“The name Swoop denotes exactly what we plan to do,” said Bob Cummings WestJet Executive Vice-President, Strategy, in a press release. “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.”

Home base for the new airline will be in Calgary, Alta., the same as WestJet’s headquarters. The Swoop fleet will be made up of Boeing 787-800 planes. The company is still finalizing what destinations the airline will service.

Much like other ULCCs, Swoop will offer an ‘a la carte’ approach to travel: the price that customers pay will cover the seat on a plane, and that’s about it. If they want anything else like checked luggage or a carry-on item, they’ll pay an additional charge. Exact fees aren’t yet listed on the Swoop website, and flights will not be going on sale until early 2018.

Ultra-low cost carriers have been available overseas for several years now, with Ryanair, WOW Air and easyJet all finding popularity in Europe (even if they do come with their share of trouble). ULCCs first came into Canada with the launch of New Leaf in January 2016, but had to suspend service and refund tickets due to some murky rules around the licensing of indirect air service carriers in Canada.

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