CALGARY, PARIS, and AMSTERDAM, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - WestJet, Air France and KLM
today announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding to build a new
commercial relationship between the three airlines.
This memorandum of understanding allows the airlines to begin working on
building a code-sharing agreement in late 2009 or early 2010. Prior to this,
the carriers will contemplate additional opportunities including an interline
agreement, namely acceptance of each other's e-tickets, and through check-in
of baggage and passengers, technology permitting. Possibilities for future
frequent flyer program cooperation will be explored as well.
A code-sharing agreement would involve the Canadian gateways of Calgary,
Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver where guests of the three airlines would
connect with each other's networks.
This memorandum of understanding is another step in WestJet's strategy to
increase connectivity, bringing additional travellers to its network as well
as offering more access for its guests to new destinations.
Dr. Hugh Dunleavy, Executive Vice President, Commercial Distribution,
commented, "We are very pleased with this announcement today. This memorandum
of understanding marks the successful execution of the next step in our
strategic plan. We are proud to have strategic partners in Air France and KLM
who share our values and our focus on the guest. They will be excellent
partners and will provide our guests with the opportunity to seamlessly travel
across their networks."
For Air France and KLM, it is a great opportunity to strengthen their
position in services to Canada and increase the number of destinations offered
WestJet is Canada's leading high-value low-cost airline offering
scheduled service throughout its 55-city North American and Caribbean network.
Named one of Canada's most admired corporate cultures in 2005, 2006, 2007 and
2008, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. WestJet offers increased
legroom, leather seats and live seatback television provided by Bell TV on its
modern fleet of 76 Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. With future confirmed
deliveries for an additional 45 aircraft, bringing its fleet to 121 by 2013,
WestJet strives to be the number one choice for travellers.
About Air France and KLM:
The business combination agreement concluded in September 2003 between
Air France and KLM gave rise to Europe's number one air transport group in May
2004, based on a holding company and two airlines with their own brands and
identity and three core businesses. The combination of Air France and KLM
creates a unique global network, based on the hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle
and Amsterdam-Schiphol. The Group represents 75 million passengers, 248
destinations worldwide and a fleet of 620 aircraft. This reflects its newfound
position as the global market leader in terms of revenues, with a total
revenue of 24,1 billion euros in 2007/2008.
As from May 2009, Air France will increase to 4 the number of daily
frequencies between Paris and Montréal, and KLM will launch a new
Amsterdam-Calgary route with 5 flights a week. At this time, Air France and
KLM will operate a total of 67 weekly flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle/
Amsterdam-Schiphol and Calgary, Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver. Please visit
Air France on the Web at http://corporate.airfrance.com and KLM on
Caution regarding forward-looking statements (WestJet)
Certain information set forth in this press release, including
information regarding the timing and implementation of WestJet's arrangements
with Air France-KLM, the nature of the anticipated commercial relationship
between the carriers, the services to be offered and the flight and route
plans of the carriers, contain forward-looking statements. By their nature,
forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties,
some of which are beyond WestJet's control. These forward-looking statements
are based on the carriers' current implementation and operational plans but
may vary based on factors including but not limited to the ability of the
parties to reach a mutually agreeable definitive agreement, customer demand,
general economic conditions, obtaining necessary regulatory approvals, if any,
and the availability of sufficient technology. These and additional risk
factors are discussed in WestJet's most recent Annual Information Form (AIF)
and in other documents WestJet files from time to time with securities
regulatory authorities, which are available through the Internet on WestJet's
SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com. Readers are cautioned that undue reliance
should not be placed on forward-looking statements as actual results may vary
materially from the forward-looking statements. WestJet does not undertake to
update any forward-looking statements, except as is required by law.
For further information:
For further information: Media Contacts: Air France: +33(0)1 41 56 56
00; KLM: +31 (0) 20 6494545; WestJet: call Robert Palmer on 1-888-WJ 4 NEWS
(1-888-954-6397) or email firstname.lastname@example.org