WestJet, Oneworld To Partner In Corporate Offering
November 4, 2008
WestJet today partnered with the Oneworld alliance to tailor joint corporate agreements and discounts for Canada-based companies. WestJet, which is second largest Canadian market after Star Alliance member Air Canada, stressed that it is not officially joining the alliance, while a Oneworld spokesperson said the deal does not include codeshare or interline agreements.
Seven Oneworld members are working with WestJet on the corporate-specific offering, the carriers said. Those include American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LAN, Qantas and Royal Jordanian.
Oneworld said the deal give the alliance further corporate traction in Canada—a country where the alliance offers no domestic network—while it gives WestJet further access to international business beyond the few North American points to which its network modestly extends.
The Oneworld spokesperson would not give specifics as to how corporate discounts would be structured, but said, 'These are based on the volumes of the business. The more people fly with us, the higher the discount. In terms of percentages, I'm not at liberty to go into what percentages we'd be talking about, but the aim here is to make this attractive to businesses in Canada and also to increase marketshare for Oneworld and WestJet in Canada.'
For deals constructed under the offering—dubbed Canadaconnect—the Oneworld spokesperson said, 'Between the eight airlines participating at this stage, we will appoint customers one point of contact that will manage the account on behalf of all the airlines participating.' WestJet director of sales and business development Duncan Bureau said the carrier likely would take the lead on managing the contracts, noting an expanding portfolio of Canada-based corporate clients. Bureau noted that half of the carrier's business is 'corporate or under contract.'
While today's announcement does not include codeshare agreements or broader integration, Oneworld and WestJet said they would consider linking up further. WestJet's Bureau said the carrier "would look to negotiate codeshare agreements with Oneworld participating carriers." However, he said WestJet must first ramp up its technological capabilities to enable codesharing-an initiative already underway to fulfill an agreement announced in July with Southwest Airlines.