Southwest Airlines - Westjet Partnership


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Southwest Airlines and WestJet Take First Step Toward Codeshare Partnership, Opening a New Gateway Between United States and Canada DALLAS, July 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southwest Airlines today announced its intention to build a codeshare partnership with Canadian carrier WestJet. The two airlines have completed the first step in creating a relationship that will eventually allow the carriers to offer Customers a seamless travel experience to a wide array of destinations. This initial agreement puts the two airlines on a path toward bringing more low fares and a better Customer experience across the U.S./Canadian border. The airlines plan to announce codeshare flight schedules and additional features regarding the partnership by late 2009. Certain details of the codeshare and elements of the partnership are subject to approvals by both the U.S. and Canadian governments.

I knew this was going to happen sooner or later, but I'm just wondering if Southwest should have held off from doing this, and rather analyze their failed partnership with ATA.


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Why would you say it was a failed partnership? ATA went out of business, but when they were in business SWA held off a push from United in Chicago by keeping ATA at their gates. If ATA had gone under before the codeshare United could have increased market share against SWA in Chicago, one of Southwest's key growth markets, especially at the time of the arrangement.

Also, just because ATA went out of business doesn't mean the partnership was a failure from Southwest's standpoint. When they went out of business, Southwest lost zero employees (the most important factor), furloughed zero pilots, cancelled zero flights, and incurred zero debt. The cost of reaccomodating codeshare passengers over a three month period was very minor compared to the added codeshare revenue they brought in during the partnership.

The WestJet deal won't actually begin until late 2009, so there is plenty to iron out (plus, who knows if Southwest will add new destinations before then?).

If you want to be in this industry, it's a good idea to have a solid understanding of how it works with regard to the market, demand, market share, codeshares, partnerships, demand for pilots, etc. That's not a direct comment to anyone - just my two cents. It's tough seeing all these guys who want fly regional jets get furloughed because they don't understand how the market works, which segment of the industry is more secure than others.

Understanding this industry goes far beyond understanding the cost of a barrell of oil. Study the market well.