WestJet to acquire competitor Sunwing

Photo: © JamesZ_Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Canada‘s second largest airline WestJet has announced plans to purchase competing Canadian leisure airline Sunwing. The deal involves both Sunwing Vacations, a tour operator, and Sunwing Airlines.

As part of this deal, WestJet Vacations and Sunwing Vacations will be merged into a single company while Sunwing Airlines continues to operate under its original brand.

WestJet‘s new CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech (who until recently worked as Austrian Airlines CEO) said about the deal: “This combination brings together Canada’s two original low-cost carriers and positions us to accelerate growth in value-oriented travel […]. It […] supports the recovery from a global pandemic that has been particularly challenging for the Canadian travel and tourism industry […]“

Stephen Hunter, currently CEO of Sunwing will serve as future CEO of the combined WestJet Vacations and Sunwing Vacations company. “We have a very promising future as part of The WestJet Group, […] [and together] with Sunwing’s unparalleled expertise in creating differentiated vacation packages [we] will ensure the success of the new vacation division“, he commented.

WestJet was founded in 1994 by a group of people, including serial airline-founder David Neeleman, and has since grown to become the second largest airline in Canada, only behind Air Canada. The airline group operates more than 160 aircraft across its subsidiaries and has 60 more on order. WestJet is owned by Onex Corporation since late 2019.

Sunwing was founded in 2002 and is the largest tour operator in Canada. 2005-established Sunwing Airlines uses a fleet of 27 Boeing 737 family aircraft on its flights to the Caribbean.