Meet Swoop, WestJet’s new ultra-low-cost airline

by Daniel Nikulin

WestJet isn’t pulling any punches when explaining the inspiration behind naming its new discount airline, Swoop, currently scheduled to take to the Canadian skies as early as next summer.

“The name ‘Swoop’ denotes exactly what we plan to do,” said Bob Cummings, Executive Vice-president of Strategy at WestJet.

“We plan to swoop in to the Canadian market with a new business model that will provide lower fares and greater opportunity for more Canadians to travel.”

Along with unveiling the new name and logo, the city of Calgary was named as Swoop’s hub to be, sharing its home base with its parent company. The subsidiary will operate a no-frills, lower-fare airline model akin to Flair Air (once New Leaf), but with the distinction of being backed by the successful WestJet brand.

To offer fares that are up to 40% cheaper than current market fares, Swoop plans to charge passengers for everything, from in-flight entertainment and carry-on luggage to priority boarding and greater leg-room seats. As another revenue stream, the airline is also strongly considering using its cabins to display advertisements.

Swoop’s direct competition will be the likes of Flair Air, Enerjet and Canada Jetlines, who recently outlined their plans to begin operations out of Waterloo and Hamilton around the same time as Swoop. Air Canada has also expressed interest in entering the ultra-low-cost airline market but has yet to release any detailed plans.

Currently, plans are for Swoop to operate a fleet of six Boeing B737-800 aircraft to handle all of the carrier’s yet to be confirmed routes. Cities like Abbotsford and Hamilton have been garnering attention as possible destinations for their less expensive landing fees than at most major Canadian airports.

After already being delayed earlier this year, Swoop now plans to be selling tickets by early next year, to begin flying passengers in late June, 2018.


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