As a sign of the maturing Canadian market, low-cost carrier WestJet has launched scheduled US flights and is negotiating with Cathay Pacific about interlining international passengers.

WestJet's cross-border scheduled nonstop services from Calgary and Toronto link to New York LaGuardia, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa, as well as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix. In January it will add Palm Springs, California.

In previous winters, WestJet flew charters to several warm-weather destinations, but this is its first foray into scheduled international service. A long-standing Canadian axiom holds that airlines should operate east-west in summer and north-south in winter.

WestJet has long resisted cross-border routes, arguing that Canada offered many new opportunities. But its own domestic expansion and the growth of low-cost carriers Jetsgo and CanJet have saturated the most lucrative routes.

In another potential new role for WestJet, Cathay Pacific reports talks with the low-cost carrier about interlining transpacific passengers that connect through its Toronto and Vancouver gateways. Cathay faces the same dilemma as other members of oneworld because the alliance lacks a Canadian partner. In the past WestJet has shown little interest in interlining, but its perspective may now be changing.

Source: Airline Business