On Friday, June 9, WestJet announced that it planned fully integrate Swoop into its mainline operations by later on this year.
On October 28, 2023, Swoop operated its last flight, and the former ultra-low-cost carrier has now been fully integrated into WestJet’s mainline operations.
WestJet Fully Integrates Swoop into Mainline Operations
WestJet has completed the integration of Swoop into its mainline operations, and Swoop no longer exists as a separate airline.
The last scheduled Swoop flight operated on October 28, 2023, and on October 30, 2023, WestJet announced that the integration has been completed.
There were a total of 16 all-economy aircraft in Swoop’s fleet, which will now become enveloped within WestJet’s mainline 737 operations.
As reported by PAX News, WestJet plans to reconfigure the cabins of the Swoop aircraft, which previously featured an all-economy setup.
WestJet will add seats to Swoop’s aircraft, and it will also incorporate Preferred seats and a Premium cabin, offering guests the choice between two classes of service.
Once the reconfigurations are complete, WestJet “will transition to offer ultra-affordable travel options through to a premium inflight experience on each of its aircraft,” as per the airline’s press release about the integration.
The impetus for the integration came after the latest collective agreement for WestJet and Swoop pilots was ratified earlier this year, which put Swoop pilots in a similar position to WestJet’s mainline pilots in terms of compensation and other factors.
As a reminder, WestJet acquired Sunwing earlier this year, and plans to integrate Sunwing into its mainline operations by October 2024.
A Look Back at Swoop
Prior to its integration into WestJet’s mainline operations, Swoop flew to 32 destinations across Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and operated on an ultra-low-cost model since its inaugural flights in 2018.
It remains to be seen whether WestJet will continue to offer similar fares as to what Swoop offered, although WestJet’s CEO has stated that it will continue to offer passengers “ultra-affordable” options.
WestJet began as a regionally focused airline that tended to offer passengers lower prices, but has since moved away from this model. In the recent past, it has been shifting its focus away from Eastern Canada and back to its hub airport in Calgary, and now only offers long-haul flights to Asia and Europe from Calgary.
However, Swoop operated a modest number of flights out of Toronto Pearson (YYZ), Hamilton (YHM), and London (YXU), including flights to some cities in Eastern Canada and to leisure destinations in the United States. This leaves the door open for WestJet to continue to have a presence in smaller Canadian hubs in Eastern Canada, competing with other ultra-low-cost and leisure carriers, such as Flair and Air Transat.
One of the headaches some Swoop passengers experienced over the past few years was being stranded away from home in the event of flight cancellations and delays, sometimes for days. If the same were to happen now, passengers can at least benefit from greater access to WestJet’s network, which should hopefully mean that they’ll get to where they want to go without any lengthy delays.
In 2020, Swoop was the first airline to implement an Air Passenger Protection Regulations fee, which was set at $2.65 per passenger.
To date, the former ultra-low-cost carrier has received enforcement actions from the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) totalling $44,140 for failing to abide by the Air Passenger Protection Regulations. That number could increase, as the CTA continues to face a massive backlog of complaints.
WestJet has completed the integration of Swoop into its mainline operations, and Swoop no longer exists as a separate entity. The last flight for the ultra-low-cost carrier took place on October 28, 2023, and the integration was completed shortly thereafter.
WestJet will begin retrofitting Swoop’s aircraft to include more seats, which will include the addition of Preferred and Premium seats.
Canadian passengers now have one less choice when it comes to choosing an airline, and as WestJet is set to integrate Sunwing by October 2024, that number will further decrease at that time.