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WestJet adds Denver/Calgary to growing network

WestJet adds Denver/Calgary to growing network

Old Aug 14, 2017, 9:04 pm
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WestJet adds Denver/Calgary to growing network

http://westjet2.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=1263

CALGARY, Aug. 14, 2017 /CNW/ - WestJet announced today it will begin serving Denver International Airport (DEN) daily from Calgary International Airport (YYC) starting March 8, 2018.

"Calgarians have enjoyed WestJet's low fares and great guest experience since our inception and we are proud to bring our trusted brand to the Mile-High City, Denver," said Ed Sims, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial. "With its sophisticated business economy and stunning mountain scenery, Denver is a natural for the WestJet network. Connecting through Calgary will also allow Denver's business and leisure travellers year round access to the broader Canadian WestJet network."

Canada ranks as Colorado's largest trading partner, accounting for nearly $1.4 billion in exports in 2016. In addition, Canada ranks as the second-largest foreign investor in Colorado, only the United Kingdom has more corporate presence.

"We welcome WestJet's investment in our market which further strengthens Denver's global brand," said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. "This new service will continue to boost our economy, with an estimated statewide economic impact of nearly $19 million annually and the creation of more than 150 new jobs."

Calgary ranks as Denver's third-largest market in Canada with nearly 150 people traveling between the two cities each day. Overall Canada ranks as Denver's second-largest international market in terms of demand, accounting for 12 per cent of total international travel.

"WestJet is an airline we have long courted, and we are pleased the carrier has chosen Denver as its newest transborder destination," said Kim Day, Denver International Airport, CEO. "Not only are Denver and Calgary similar cities in terms of size and geography, but Denver International Airport and WestJet share similar values in terms of a strong commitment to customer service and a focus on innovation."

"This announcement of non-stop service to Denver, Calgary's sister city, is a welcome addition to the 56 destinations that WestJet currently serves out of YYC," said Bob Sartor, President and CEO for The Calgary Airport Authority. "With several new destinations added and increases in frequencies this year, we know that WestJet is committed to growing their extensive route network out of YYC, benefiting Albertans looking to access top destinations around the world."

"Canada values its relationships with Colorado – both cultural and economic – very deeply, and Denver International Airport is the gateway that helps us keep those connections strong," said Stéphane Lessard, Consul General of Canada in Denver. "As this state's number one international trading partner, it makes sense that the list of great Canadian companies with investments in this state continues to grow as we now welcome WestJet to Mile High."
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Old Aug 14, 2017, 9:32 pm
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This is to compete with the Frontier Denver to Calgary new flight. I expect it will fall in their ULCC once set up.
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Old Aug 15, 2017, 10:30 am
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At least there will be some competition on this route now having United, WestJet and Frontier.
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Old Aug 15, 2017, 1:17 pm
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Originally Posted by CanuckFlyHigh
This is to compete with the Frontier Denver to Calgary new flight. I expect it will fall in their ULCC once set up.
Yup. This is just WS protecting their home turf. But I'll be interested to see if it makes a difference. I don't personally care about DEN, but I do care I can use it to connect elsewhere in the U.S. using Frontier. Sadly though I expect Frontier's "ULCC" prices will look like United and WS.
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Old Aug 15, 2017, 11:11 pm
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Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy
Yup. This is just WS protecting their home turf. But I'll be interested to see if it makes a difference. I don't personally care about DEN, but I do care I can use it to connect elsewhere in the U.S. using Frontier. Sadly though I expect Frontier's "ULCC" prices will look like United and WS.
I can't see how this has anything to do with Frontier.

Frontier is now almost a pure-play leisure airline. For Frontier, DEN is a hub offering connections to leisure markets in the SW United States. Frontier's product - if and when it actually starts here - will be cheapo base fares to southwestern leisure destinations.

DEN itself isn't a significant leisure destination, at least not for Canadians/Calgarians. They won't really be competing with Frontier on that market, since there really isn't a market. And WestJet won't be offering any connections at DEN, since it's only a 'spoke' for all of their partners. WestJet's passengers will be O/D at Denver, while Frontier's will be connecting. Starting a new service to DEN really won't offer much defence against Frontier's entry to YYC.

My take on this is that they're primarily going toe to toe with UA here, not Frontier. And while UA often has some gawd-awful aircraft on this route, they do offer a pretty robust timetable with multiple daily nonstops. That's key for business travelers. WS will only have one flight. But WS will have an advantage in more and better connecting flights at YYC bringing pax in from western Canada cities that don't have a direct UA service.

As for Frontier's fares, I do think they'll be cheap. But it comes at a price. None of my American colleagues would touch them with a ten foot pole due to poor in-flight experience, worse-than-Rouge comfort and space, and poor frequencies making trip planning a challenge for even those who'd consider them. While the base fares will be low, I think their YYC customers will be in for a shock when they have to pay hefty fees for carry-on bags and or an in-flight Coke.
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Old Aug 16, 2017, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by FlyerJ
I can't see how this has anything to do with Frontier.

Frontier is now almost a pure-play leisure airline. For Frontier, DEN is a hub offering connections to leisure markets in the SW United States. Frontier's product - if and when it actually starts here - will be cheapo base fares to southwestern leisure destinations.

DEN itself isn't a significant leisure destination, at least not for Canadians/Calgarians. They won't really be competing with Frontier on that market, since there really isn't a market. And WestJet won't be offering any connections at DEN, since it's only a 'spoke' for all of their partners. WestJet's passengers will be O/D at Denver, while Frontier's will be connecting. Starting a new service to DEN really won't offer much defence against Frontier's entry to YYC.

My take on this is that they're primarily going toe to toe with UA here, not Frontier. And while UA often has some gawd-awful aircraft on this route, they do offer a pretty robust timetable with multiple daily nonstops. That's key for business travelers. WS will only have one flight. But WS will have an advantage in more and better connecting flights at YYC bringing pax in from western Canada cities that don't have a direct UA service.

As for Frontier's fares, I do think they'll be cheap. But it comes at a price. None of my American colleagues would touch them with a ten foot pole due to poor in-flight experience, worse-than-Rouge comfort and space, and poor frequencies making trip planning a challenge for even those who'd consider them. While the base fares will be low, I think their YYC customers will be in for a shock when they have to pay hefty fees for carry-on bags and or an in-flight Coke.
This has EVERYTHING to do with Frontier. The WS flights start at the exact same time as Frontier in the Spring.

Do you think Westjet really wanted to fly to Mesa, AZ? Nope, but they added it because of New Leaf.

I have no problem with this, as I am a WS fan, but don't kid yourself that they just randomly decided to start this flight 2 weeks after Frontier announced a DEN flight.

If WS joins an alliance, this DEN flight will be so amazing (although DEN is a United powerhouse and WS clearly isnt joining SA)
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Old Aug 16, 2017, 8:35 am
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I agree that this is largely in response to Frontier and to signal to others that if anyone is going to compete with AC/UA, it is going to be WS. I don't see this lasting with the mainline 737, however once they fight off some of the competition, they have the option to switch this to the LCC if it gets off the ground or potentially Encore, though it would be a long Q400 route.

IF they were after UA's connecting traffic, it would have to be a different destination than DEN since their partners have little presence there. I read elsewhere the total O/D traffic on YYC-DEN is 150/day, no idea if that is true.
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Old Aug 16, 2017, 9:17 am
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I have wanted to see this for a long time.

There are also a lot of possible DIY connections to and from Southwest at those times.
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Old Aug 19, 2017, 7:31 pm
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Expect a blood bath on the fare front next spring/summer before one airline packs it in after summer. Can't see the demand here as a destination market. WS is sending a message.
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Old Aug 21, 2017, 8:57 am
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Originally Posted by Altaflyer
Expect a blood bath on the fare front next spring/summer before one airline packs it in after summer. Can't see the demand here as a destination market. WS is sending a message.
It will be interesting. I don't think F9 or UA have much O/D pax going through there, it's all connecting. WS's flight only makes sense if DEN/YYC is your final destination.
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Old Aug 21, 2017, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy
It will be interesting. I don't think F9 or UA have much O/D pax going through there, it's all connecting. WS's flight only makes sense if DEN/YYC is your final destination.
About 50% of UA YYC-DEN traffic is O&D. Encana, Suncor, and Agrium have major offices in the Denver area. There is also a lot of small OilField Services companies that are Calgary based with field offices in Denver.

I suspect that Suncor has approached WS to get them onto YYC-DEN. WS is doing something different, they are taking a loss on one route in hopes of chasing more profitable flying elsewhere. In this case its profits from the Suncor Charter flying are being used to cover losses on YYC-DEN.

F9 entering the route network was just a convenient way to push the naysers onside. "Look now we have to compete with a ULCC".

YYC-IAH and YYC-DFW have similar dismal results for WS on a traffic load factor basis. I agree that YYC-DEN is also likely to have similar poor results.
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Old Aug 22, 2017, 8:55 pm
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Originally Posted by WR Cage

YYC-IAH and YYC-DFW have similar dismal results for WS on a traffic load factor basis. I agree that YYC-DEN is also likely to have similar poor results.
According to US DoT Form 41 data, WestJet's 2016 system trans border load factor was 80.7%.

In it's first full year of ops, YYC-IAH ran at 73.5%. DFW, which is a seasonal market, ran at 72.6%

Neither are leisure markets. Yields are considerably higher than more traditional WJ trans border leisure markets resulting in a significantly lower BELF on the routes.

Both Texas markets are profitable. Were they not, they wouldn't have added a second daily departure to IAH.

For the record, in 2016 AC mainline trans border l/f was 82.5%, Jazz was 71.6%, Sky Regional was 77.7% and Air Georgian was 69.3%. Overall AC ran a trans border l/f of 79.2% in 2016, 1.5% pts lower than WestJet.

Air Canada filled 11,824,499 trans border seats, WestJet filled 4,580,467 trans border seats.


Last edited by HangTen; Aug 23, 2017 at 9:12 am
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