Canadian travellers and the Canadian travel industry are overdue for good news.
We are excited to announce an agreement under which the WestJet Group will acquire Sunwing Vacations (inclusive of SellOffVacations and Vacation Express) and Sunwing Airlines to create a new, combined tour operating business which will be led by Sunwing’s CEO Stephen Hunter. As part of the agreement, Sunwing shareholders will become shareholders in the WestJet Group. This transaction will bring together two distinctly Canadian success stories to deliver new travel options and greater value for Canadians.
Following the close of the transaction, the new vacation division will include both Sunwing Vacations and WestJet Vacations Inc. The combination of WestJet’s strong balance sheet and vibrant growing national airline with Sunwing’s established brand and expertise in creating differentiated vacation packages will ensure this new tour operating business thrives.
Like many Canadian businesses, the past two years have forced us to think long-term about what matters to us most, where we can manage costs and how we can expand our footprint while continuing to deliver on our purpose of making vacation dreams come true. It became abundantly clear that our reputation for innovative vacation packages would be strengthened by joining forces with a like-minded Canadian company with a well-established scheduled airline service. With WestJet, we have found that partner.
I am tremendously grateful for the role that our valued travel partners have played in Sunwing’s journey to date. In our long history as a company, we have always been motivated, challenged and excited by our trade partners and the agent community’s enthusiasm for helping our mutual customers make life-lasting memories on dream vacations at affordable prices.
I hope and expect this working relationship will only strengthen in this next chapter, as we bring together two Canadian powerhouse brands to drive scale and continued growth in the travel sector. Specifically, having a single purchase point for vacation packages from more gateways to more destinations will simplify processes and help our agent partners grow their businesses. Additional benefits of the agreement include:
More jobs. WestJet and Sunwing employees will have access to greater opportunities, whether they are pilots, cabin crew or tour employees.
More choice. We plan to strengthen the partnerships we have built with local, regional and international airports across and will be able to offer customers vacations to more destinations than ever before, in addition to increasing capacity year-round. Cities where WestJet operates will gain access to a wider array of vacation packages and regional growth is expected in several of our existing markets, particularly in Quebec where we have a longstanding presence.
Lower prices. The alignment between the two airline operations is essential to keep the business competitive as several low-cost carriers increase their presence in the Canadian market.
I want to assure you that any existing plans customers have made with Sunwing will be honoured. Given that the agreement is subject to regulatory approvals, we will be operating business as usual for the time being.
Additional details on the agreement can be found in our official news release: HERE
Thank you for coming along on this journey with us, especially after weathering a difficult couple of years. Our industry’s best days are ahead of us.
Andrew Dawson President of Tour Operations Sunwing