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WestJet’s ultra-low-cost subsidiary, Swoop, made its final flights on Oct. 28 before officially being integrated into WestJet’s mainline.
As part of a collective agreement earlier this year between WestJet and the union representing its pilots (the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l) — which will see pilots earn 24 per cent raises over four years — a decision was made to integrate Swoop into the parent company.
WestJet’s CEO, Alexis von Hoensbroech, said in a statement that the “integration will enhance our ability to serve a broader spectrum of guests. Instead of only 16 [Swoop] aircraft serving the ultra-low-cost market, each aircraft, in [WestJet’s] 180-strong fleet, will offer ultra-affordable travel options through to a premium inflight experience.”
Expedited integration efforts began in early June when the collective agreement was ratified, and full integration was expected by the end of October.
On Oct. 28, Swoop Flight WO638 departed Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) for Cancun, Mexico, at 3:35 p.m. Operated by C-FONK, a 737-800, this was Swoop’s last ever departure from YYZ and its second-last flight overall. That same day, C-FONK departed Cancun for Toronto at 7:40 p.m. and landed at Toronto at midnight on Oct. 29, marking the final flight for the airline.
According to Travel Industry Today, Swoop president Bob Cummings issued a statement to travellers on Oct. 28, saying: “Today marks the final day of operation for Swoop. It is a bittersweet moment for all of us, as we bid farewell to an incredible journey that you have been an integral part of. Your trust in us and your growing appetite for affordable air travel have been the bedrock fueling our cause and success for the past five years.”
Swoop began operations in June of 2018, and operated a fleet of Boeing 737-800 and 737 Max 8 aircraft. Over the last five years, Cummings said the ultra-low-cost airline transported almost 7 million passengers on more than 40,000 flights to 38 destinations across Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean.
WestJet plans to absorb and operate Swoop’s fleet once the aircraft are repainted in the airline’s signature teal, navy, and white livery, and Swoop employees will be integrated into WestJet, too.
TravelPulse Canada reported that the airline plans to add seats to some of its aircraft to maintain affordable fares for travellers. This includes the addition of six seats to its 737-800 and Max 8 planes, and 13 seats to the 737 Max 10 aircraft that the airline has ordered from Boeing. The manufacturer expects to achieve certification for the Max 10 in 2024.