Canadian airlines are still adjusting to the demise of Jetsgo. At first they breathed a collective sigh of relief that the discount carrier, which had wreaked havoc on balance sheets everywhere, was gone. But now they are jockeying to fill the holes it left. Three weeks before its collapse in March, Jetsgo claimed just 8% of the domestic market, but the absence of those 844 weekly flights has left a vacuum.

The initial winners from Jetsgo’s demise were WestJet in the west and Air Canada in the east, but that is changing. Halifax-based CanJet, which vaulted into the number three position when Jetsgo disappeared, has its own plans to grow. Fares stabilised at higher levels – as much as 42% higher on some routes – after Jetsgo’s collapse, but the growing rivalry among Air Canada, WestJet and CanJet means this stability may be short-lived.

Air Canada and CanJet are both adding flights in the west. Air Canada and its regional affiliate, Jazz, have started taking delivery of larger regional jets, deploying many on routes from or within western Canada. Air Canada boasts that its winter schedule will offer up to 188 daily flights at Calgary on 32 different routes – more than WestJet. CanJet’s expansion is more modest, but it too is venturing from its eastern base into western Canada with new flights to Edmonton and Winnipeg.

WestJet is responding by moving into the busy eastern triangle of Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal, a lucrative market that Air Canada nearly owns. Some analysts claim WestJet is too late because Air Canada has already absorbed Jetsgo’s traffic in these markets, but WestJet sees them as critical to wooing business travellers away from Air Canada on to its network.

Source: Airline Business