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Wednesday,  June 12, 2024 11:28 AM 

From magenta to teal: Swoop operates final flight as it merges with WestJet


From magenta to teal: Swoop operates final flight as it merges with WestJet
Swoop operated its final flight on Oct. 28. (Swoop)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Swoop conducted its final flight on Saturday (Oct. 28), ending its five-year run as an ultra-low-cost carrier in Canada as the brand merges with its parent company, WestJet.

The dissolution of Swoop was first reported by PAX in May as pilot negotiations resulted in the decision to integrate the magenta-coloured brand into WestJet’s teal-toned mainline.

Previously, Swoop pilots were paid less than those who flew for mainline WestJet, and as part of the merger, which was formalized in June, pilots will receive a 24 per cent pay bump over four years.

On Saturday, Swoop took to X, formally known as Twitter, to acknowledge its final flight, posting an image of a WestJet 787 Dreamliner.

READ MORE: WestJet & Swoop pilots ratify agreement with wage & quality-of-life improvements

“Today we mark Swoop’s final day of operation, celebrating 5 years of ultra-low cost flights,” the carrier wrote. “As we merge with WestJet, we look forward to new adventures ahead. Thanks to the loyal Swoop travellers for their support. Find us on the Teal side of things at”

(X/@flyswoop)

Swoop employees will also move to WestJet.

On X, Instagram and other social media platforms on Saturday, WestJet posted a “before and after” video of employees transitioning from Swoop to WestJet uniforms.   

“As of today, Swoopsters have completely transitioned from magenta to teal as we welcome onboard 700 new WestJetters to our ever-growing team and network!” the airline wrote on LinkedIn. “This change is a testament to our commitment to becoming Canada's leading leisure airline, passionately dedicated to making travel affordable and accessible for all Canadians.”

“Stay tuned for more exciting developments as we continue to redefine travel experiences.”

Swooping into market

WestJet first announced its ultra low-cost subsidiary in September of 2017 and began Swoop flights in June of 2018.

The airline was named after WestJet's desire to "swoop" into the Canadian market with a new business model.

READ MORE: Sunwing/Swoop integration will enhance affordability, says WestJet CEO

Its 16-aircraft fleet was made up of Boeing 737-800 next generation and 737-MAX series, which flew to 32 destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Swoop flights, at the start of 2022, were also made available to the trade for booking WestJet Vacations packages.

Committed to low-cost travel 

While the merger may leave a hole in the low-cost market in Canada, WestJet’s CEO, Alexis von Hoensbroech, has vowed to keep air travel affordable for Canadians.

Speaking at a lunch event last week at the Toronto Region Board of Trade, von Hoensbroech underscored WestJet’s commitment to being a low-cost airline.

READ MORE: WestJet to integrate Sunwing, reconfigure aircraft; tour op unaffected, says Dawson

“We want to be affordable,” he told the audience, noting how WestJet, currently, has more than 1.7 million seats for sale that are under $100. “We are targeting every Canadian, and not just the elites of this country.”

WestJet’s CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech spoke in Toronto on Oct. 25. (Pax Global Media)

As previously reported, Sunwing Airlines, too, will be integrated into WestJet’s mainline.

The WestJet Group, which completed its acquisition of Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations in May, says this integration will be completed by October 2024. (It will have no impact on Sunwing Vacations, the tour operator)

Aircraft reconfigurations

The two integrations, in turn, will result in a reconfiguration of Sunwing and Swoop aircraft, WestJet’s CEO confirmed last week, a move that will densify cabins to distribute costs across more seats.

As PAX first reported, WestJet’s 737-800s and MAX 8s, including legacy WestJet, Sunwing and Swoop planes, will be reworked to feature 180 seats – up six seats from the current configuration – including 12 Premium seats.

WestJet's Max 10s – there are 70 on order for the next five years – will also add 13 seats, totalling 212.

“We will not segment our guests by airline [like through Swoop], but segment our guests within the aircraft,” von Hoensbroech said last week. “For a market like Canada, that makes most sense.”


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