WestJet and Southwest Airlines Announce Signing of Agreement

    "Defining moment," says WestJet President and CEO

    CALGARY, July 8 /CNW/ - WestJet (TSX:WJA) today announced it has signed a
memorandum of understanding to build a distribution and codeshare agreement
with U.S. based Southwest Airlines. This memorandum of understanding is the
first step that will see both airlines, by late 2009, have the ability to
commence codeshare flights across both networks. In the near future,
southwest.com will become a distribution channel for WestJet's existing
Canadian and transborder flights. Other potential opportunities within the
agreement include purchasing, ground handling, marketing and selling to
corporate accounts and other areas of mutual gain.
    Sean Durfy, President and CEO of WestJet commented, "This is a defining
moment for WestJet. Clearly, we are delivering on our strategic plan with this
announcement today. It marks an important step forward for our guests and
their ability to fly to more destinations in the United States conveniently
and cost effectively. When you examine our network in Canada and Southwest's
network in the United States, and the potential to significantly improve both
organizations' market access, this is indeed a great day.
    "It is an honour to partner with one of the great airline success stories
of the world," continued Durfy. "The effort put forth by Gary Kelly and his
management team to negotiate this relationship is most appreciated and I look
forward to building a great bond with Southwest. Together we will demonstrate
that low-cost, high-value airlines represent the future success of air
    Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said, "A company's
dedication to Culture and Customer Service are very high on our priority list
when considering a relationship of any kind. We are confident that we've found
a perfect fit with WestJet, and we are excited to work toward opening our
expansive U.S. network to include Canadian destinations.
    "We are quickly moving forward with our plans to enter the international
market with an airline partner that we hold in high esteem," Kelly said. "We
have a very talented group of Employees who will continue to work diligently
over the next year to develop and deliver a superior international codeshare
product into the marketplace."
    The airlines plan to introduce a distribution plan in 2008 with a
codeshare agreement in place in late 2009. Certain details of the codeshare
and elements of the partnering relationship are subject to approvals by both
the U.S. and Canadian governments. Subject to receipt of these approvals, the
airlines plan to announce flight schedules and additional features regarding
the partnering relationship in late 2009.

    About WestJet

    WestJet is Canada's leading high-value low-cost airline offering
scheduled service throughout its 49-city North American (including Hawaii),
Mexico and Caribbean network. Named Canada's most admired corporate culture in
2005, 2006 and 2007, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. WestJet
offers increased legroom and leather seats on its modern fleet of 75 Boeing
Next-Generation 737 aircraft, and live seatback television provided by Bell
ExpressVu. With future confirmed deliveries for an additional 46 aircraft,
bringing its fleet to 121 by 2013, WestJet strives to be the number one choice
for travellers.

    About Southwest Airlines

    After 37 years of service, Southwest Airlines, the United State's leading
low-fare carrier, continues to differentiate itself from other
airlines-offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service.
Southwest Airlines is the most productive airline in the sky and offers
Customers a comfortable traveling experience. Southwest offers a very
comfortable ride with all premium leather seats and plenty of legroom with a
young all Boeing 737 fleet. Southwest recently updated its gate areas and
improved its boarding procedure to make flying Southwest even more convenient
and simple. Southwest Airlines (NYSE:   LUV), the nation's largest carrier in
terms of domestic passengers enplaned, currently serves 64 cities in 32
states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,400 flights
a day and has more than 34,000 Employees system wide.

For further information:

For further information: WestJet, Media Relations, Gillian Bentley,
1-888-WJ 4 NEWS (1-888-954-6397), Email: gbentley@westjet.com, Website:

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890