Once again there is uncertainty for members of the flying public who were getting used to being able to reach multiple Canadian and sun destinations via Swoop flying out of Hamilton Airport. WestJet announced Friday that as a result of its recent settlement with striking pilots, Swoop will be folded into WestJet. The agreement struck with the pilots union equalized Pilot’s wages on both airlines.
In a news release announcing the ratification of the new collective agreement with pilots, WestJet noted, “Through an expedited process, the airline anticipates a full integration into its mainline operations by the end of October. To avoid traveller impact, Swoop will operate its existing network through to the end of its published schedule on October 28. Swoop employees will move to WestJet.”
What this will mean for the deep discount fare model and Hamilton in particular has not been made clear but the release hints there will continue to be some low-cost seat options “We continue our strategy toward providing reliable, affordable travel across the WestJet Group, leveraging the valuable experiences and learnings from the Swoop business model. This integration will enhance our ability to serve a broader spectrum of guests. Instead of only 16 aircraft serving the ultra-low-cost market, each aircraft, in our 180-strong fleet, will offer ultra-affordable travel options through to a premium inflight experience.”
“The WestJet Group is committed to ongoing engagement with valued communities and stakeholders to ensure that the airline continues to provide critical and affordable air travel to communities across Canada.”
Hamilton International Airport issued the following statement in response to the news: “Hamilton International Airport is aware of today’s announcement that the collective bargaining agreement between WestJet and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has been ratified. The Airport continues to monitor and have discussions with WestJet and Swoop. Swoop will continue to operate all flights as scheduled from Hamilton International throughout the coming months. Hamilton International has demonstrated there is a proven market here with strong passenger loads on year-round and seasonal routes. The Airport has also established itself as a strategic part of the national supply chain, and its very diversified portfolio of cargo and passenger operations continues to serve the Hamilton and the Southern Ontario region. “