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WestJet's new service will launch this year.

Jess McHugh
April 20, 2017

Canadian airline WestJet announced on Thursday its plan to launch a new ultra low-cost carrier by the end of 2017.

"As the price-sensitive consumer seeks out alternatives to what is presently available, we believe there is no better airline suited to bring [ultra low-cost carriers] to Canada than WestJet," WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky said in a statement.

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WestJet started as a discount airline serving Canada in 1996, and it has widely expanded in the intervening two decades, offering flights to more than 100 destinations worldwide.

The new no-frills service will launch with a fleet of 10 high-density Boeing 737-800s, the Canadian Press reported. As is the case with most budget airlines, passengers should read “high-density” as “no leg or elbow room.”

WestJet has not yet announced the name of the new airline, nor which destinations it will serve. The service will likely compete with NewLeaf, which offers fares under $100 between Canadian cities, according to CBC News.

Several airlines are currently adjusting to get into the low-cost game made popular by Ryanair, easyJet, and Spirit. U.S. domestic carriers like Delta and American have introduced basic economy airfares, some other airlines are taking WestJet's approach of creating a new carrier. British Airways, for example, recently announced LEVEL.

“Our new airline will provide Canadians a pro-competitive, cheap and cheerful flying experience from a company with a proven track record,” Saretsky said.

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