As Canada reopens to fully vaccinated travellers from the United States on 9th August 2021, Delta Airlines is boosting flights to the neighbouring country. The announcement comes after Air Canada announced that it would have up to 220 daily flights between the US and Canada once Canada reopens to Americans.
Starting in September, Delta is more than doubling the number of daily flights between the United States and Canada. The airline will have a 150% increase in available seats, going from eight daily flights to 19 daily flights. This will result in addition of over 1,000 seats in the market. Delta will offer flights to the following Canadian cities:
Toronto will see the largest increase, growing to 10 daily flights in September. This includes the launch of four daily flights from 13th September 2021 between New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Toronto.
Joe Esposito, SVP of Network Planning, Delta Airlines, said:
We’ve looked forward to the vital gateways between these two countries reopening and ensured that our customers have the choice and connectivity they need when booking their trips. As with everything Delta does, our customer-first approach is key to rebuilding the network and delivering a seamless travel experience with our global partners.
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The partnership with WestJet
Against this route network expansion is the question of how Delta and WestJet will move forward. Back in 2018, both the airlines announced plans to create a joint venture agreement covering routes between the United States and Canada. Then, in late 2019, the joint venture was cleared by the Canadian Competition Bureau.
In 2020, while the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on both carriers, what was more damaging was the United States’ Department of Transportation (DOT). In the fall of 2020, the DOT ruled that in order to receive final joint venture approval, WestJet and Delta would need to divest slots at LaGuardia. This proved to be too much of an ask, and the airlines announced they were abandoning their plans for a joint venture with a scathing rebuke of the DOT.
Since then, WestJet and Delta Airlines have instead worked to launch enhanced elite reciprocal loyalty benefits but cannot cooperate very deeply.
Passengers travelling on Delta Airlines can access more destinations in Canada thanks to the WestJet partnership. This includes flights to secondary destinations like Halifax, Kelowna, Charlottetown, among others. These may, however, require a connection in a hub like Toronto or Calgary.
Will WestJet and Delta move again for a joint venture?
Delta and WestJet have not officially announced if they will reapply for a joint venture under the new administration. According to reports in FlightGlobal, Ed Sims, CEO of WestJet, commented at a webinar sponsored by the International Aviation Club of Washington on plans to continue pushing for a joint venture.
The joint venture between Delta and WestJet was designed to combat the Air Canada-United transborder partnership that gives both airlines the dominant position in the market.
For now, we can just speculate for any joint venture between the two airlines.
Featured image by Airliners.net
What do you think Delta boosting flights to Canada ahead of the country’s reopening? Do you think that Delta will move ahead for a joint venture with WestJet? Let me know in the comments section below.