WestJet will begin adding its code to Korean Air flights from Toronto and Vancouver to Seoul, after the Canadian carrier decided earlier this week to centralise its widebody flying from Calgary.
Calgary-based WestJet on 7 October called the deal its “first reciprocal codeshare with an Asian partner”.
“It’s incredibly exciting for WestJet to codeshare on flights across the Pacific to Asia for the first time,” says WestJet’s chief commercial officer John Weatherill. “We’ve had a strong codeshare with Korean since 2012 and… we’re looking forward to the new opportunities our now reciprocal codeshare will bring to consumers.”
”We remain committed to bridging Canada, Korea and Asia through our hub at Incheon Airport,” adds Korean’s senior vice-president and head of international affairs and alliance Tae Joon Kim.
According to Cirium fleets data, Korean Air operates a daily flight to Seoul’s Incheon International airport from Vancouver, and flies five-times weekly from Toronto. Both routes are operated on Boeing 787-9s.
The codeshare comes two days after WestJet said it will pull its seven-strong Boeing 787 fleet out of other Canadian cities to concentrate all intercontinental flying from Calgary International airport. The carrier has been also been operating Dreamliner long-haul flights to Europe from Toronto.
The new strategy – introduced by chief executive Alexis von Hoensbroech in June – is part of a three-pronged shift the carrier hopes will return it to pre-pandemic successes.
The first pillar of the strategy is to focus on building network strength in the western half of Canada – from Winnipeg to the Pacific Ocean. The second is a renewed focus on leisure travel, supported by the acquisition of low-cost vacation specialist Sunwing Airlines, along with its tour operator business. Third, WestJet intends to return to its low-cost origins.
As part of the new direction, WestJet cancelled three 787 orders, having received the last of type in early September.
Meanwhile, it is building out its narrowbody fleet. Last week, WestJet ordered 42 737 Max 10s, with options for 22 more. The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered through 2028. In addition to 23 existing 737 Max orders, WestJet now expects to receive at least 65 737s in the next six years, of which at least 50 will be 737 Max 10s.