Delta and WestJet End Plans for Joint Venture Amidst ‘Unreasonable’ Demands from DOT

By Kurt Stolz on 21 November 2020
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A WestJet gate at LaGuardia Airport

Delta Air Lines and WestJet said they would no longer pursue a planned transborder joint-venture agreement after the U.S. government made demands that the airlines termed “unreasonable and unacceptable.”

It was only one month ago that the U.S. Department of Transportation tentatively gave the plan a green light.  In order to obtain the requested antitrust immunity however, the two would have to remove Swoop, an ultra low-cost carrier affiliate of WestJet, from the alliance, and jointly divest 16 takeoff and landing slots at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

The Canadian Competition Bureau had granted an unconditional “no action” approval letter in June 2019 following its review of the plans.

Had the joint venture been approved, it would have had 27% of transborder capacity.  Air Canada currently has 45%.

The two airlines said they would continue to pursue a joint venture but in the short term would focus on “deepening the alliance” that exists between them.

The two airlines first announced a codeshare agreement on flights within the United States and Canada back in 2012 and an interline agreement in 2011. The joint venture was announced in July 2018.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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