Canadian airline WestJet has announced it is actively considering the launch of a new short-haul, regional airline as early as 2013 using a fleet of approximately 40 smaller, turboprop aircraft.
The decision will bring the carrier into direct competition with fierce rival Air Canada.
“This is an exciting consideration for WestJetters,” said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet chief executive.
“We are meeting with WestJetters throughout January to get their input on this watershed decision.
“One of the cornerstones of our success is engaging with employees early on in key decisions and I am confident they will see the strategic value of this initiative.
“Once our employees have had the opportunity to share their input, we will be in a better position to make a sound decision rooted in employee feedback and engagement.
WestJet is Canada’s second largest airline, offering scheduled service throughout its 71-city North American and Caribbean network.
The carrier was launched in 1996 as a low-cost airline modelled on US-based Southwest Airlines.
However, in recent years the Calgary-based airline has increasingly moved away from its low-cost roots as it searches for new revenue sources.
“As we have said on many occasions before, we have regularly evaluated this strategy,” continued Saretsky.
“This would be the natural evolution of our airline,” he concluded.