Delta Air Lines has quietly expanded its global footprint over the past few years, buying minority stakes or forming joint ventures on four continents. This partnership has the goal of adding more flights between the US and Canada, sharing airport facilities and enhancing the frequent flyer program through both airlines. The airline and Canadian carrier WestJet said Wednesday they have reached a deal to form a joint venture.
The joint venture arrangement, which is subject to board approvals, execution of definitive agreements and applicable regulatory approvals, in the United States and Canada, include coordinated flight schedules for new non-stop flights to new destinations, expanded codesharing, and provide seamless connections on the airlines' extensive networks in the U.S. and Canada.
The Canadian airline's EVP Ed Sims said the agreement is "an important step in WestJet's mission to become a global airline", while Delta's Steve Sear said "WestJet is the flawless partner for us in the US-Canada transborder segment".
Steve Sear, Delta's worldwide president, calls WestJet a "perfect partner" for the American airline.
The Calgary-based airline's chief executive Gregg Saretsky said at an investor update that it continues to invest in initiatives to support the transition "from a low-priced point-to-point model into a high value-based network airline with a global footprint". Canada's second-biggest airline reports that it has purchased 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners due for delivery by January 2019.
WestJet also said it expects to grow its number of aircraft to 96 by 2020 from 51 at the end of third quarter.