Economy

Delta picks Canadian partner as airline consolidation quietly goes global

Delta picks Canadian partner as airline consolidation quietly goes global

On Wednesday, WestJet and Delta Air Lines announced plans to form a joint venture that will enhance transborder service and deepen their relationship.

Now, it's turning to Canada.

Delta and Canadian low-priced carrier WestJet have reached a preliminary agreement to form a antitrust-immune joint venture.

"We look forward to applying Delta's experience building successful joint venture partnerships to this important segment of transborder travel, the second-largest worldwide segment for U.S.travel", said Steve Sear, Delta's president of worldwide and executive vice president of global sales.

The deal underscores Delta's ambitions to grow globally after years of post-bankruptcy consolidation, which has left Delta and three other large US carriers in control of more than two-thirds of the domestic market. It's unclear whether it would mean more nonstop flights to Canada from Atlanta.

The deal would expand upon the codeshare and frequent-flyer program partnership that the two carriers have had since 2012.

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"With its strong brand and employee- and customer-centric culture, WestJet is the ideal partner for us in the U.S./Canada transborder segment and together we will produce great results for our respective employees, customers and investors" Steve Sear, Delta's global president, said in the release.

WestJet has 45 airline partners providing access to more than 175 destinations in over 20 countries.

"We look forward to applying Delta's experience building successful joint venture partnerships to this important segment of transborder travel, the second largest global segment for U.S.travel".

It has also identified annual cost savings opportunities of $140 million to $200 million over the five years from fleet reconfigurations, airport operations cost savings, optimized maintenance plans, digital self service, and sales and distribution channel efficiencies.

WestJet is based in Calgary in the province of Alberta. Canada's second-biggest airline reports that it has purchased 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners due for delivery by January 2019.

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