Delta & WestJet Are Forming A Joint Venture

Filed Under: Delta, Other Airlines

Of the major US carriers, there’s no denying that Delta is by far creating the most comprehensive global network. I’m not just talking about airlines they partner with through alliances, but rather airlines with which they have either joint ventures or even equity stakes. This is something they’ve been heavily focused on the past few years, and it seems like it has been paying off for them.

Delta has now announced their latest planned joint venture, and this one is a bit closer to home.

Delta and WestJet plan to enter into a comprehensive transborder joint venture. As of now the two airlines have signed a memorandum of understanding regarding their intentions, and presumably it will take some time for them to gain government approval and fully launch this expanded partnership.

Here’s how Delta describes what passengers can expect when traveling between the US and Canada as part of this joint venture:

  • Coordinated flight schedules for new nonstop flights to new destinations, expanded codesharing, and seamless and convenient connections on the airlines’ extensive networks in the U.S. and Canada
  • Enhanced frequent flyer benefits including reciprocal benefits for top-tier members of both airlines

WestJet doesn’t have business class on transborder flights, but rather just WestJet Plus

Delta and WestJet have partnered for years, and this is a partnership that they’ve had outside of the SkyTeam alliance. Delta historically hasn’t been that strong in Canada, so this will no doubt give them access to a lot more markets. Keep in mind that American partners with WestJet as well, so you can bet without a doubt that American will be losing yet another airline partner shortly (American is cutting ties with Gulf Air and Jet Airways, airberlin went out of business, they’re reducing the scope of their partnership with Alaska, and are ending their codeshare agreement with Etihad and Qatar).

American is cutting ties with Jet Airways as Delta expands their relationship with them

It’s pretty crazy when you look at the full scope of Delta’s global partnerships now. They have joint ventures with Aeromexico, Air France-KLM, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia, and have stakes (or are in the process of acquiring stakes in) Air France-KLM, Aeromexico, China Eastern, GOL, and Virgin Atlantic.

Ultimately I’m always torn on whether or not joint ventures are a good thing. On one hand, they’re typically good news as far as frequent flyer benefits go, especially for an airline like Delta, which severely limits mileage earning on partners they aren’t close with. At the same time, a joint venture is the equivalent of eliminating a partner, and leads to higher fares for consumers.

What do you make of the proposed joint venture between Delta and WestJet?

  1. This will be good news at least for people north of the border trying to get out of the Air Canada domination.

  2. WestJet is getting lie-flats with their new 787s to be delivered! This will be a great partnership!

  3. “Delta historically hasn’t been that strong in Canada”

    Umm, NW was the leading US carrier to Canada and they merged with DL. Lots of history there.

  4. “Delta historically hasn’t been that strong in Canada”. Incorrect. Delta has the most Canadian connections of any US airline.

    Delta flies to 12 destinations in Canada. From West to East: Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Sault Ste Marie, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, and Halifax.

    United flies to 10 destinations in Canada. All the same as Delta minus Sault Ste Marie and Saskatoon. American even less than that.

    Other major US carriers like Southwest and Jetblue don’t fly to Canada at all.

  5. Great news for YQB (Quebec City) who lost their only delta flight YQB-JFK last month. I had a good laugh when they tried to rebook my 1.5 hour flight with a 3 connection 7.5 hour itinerary connecting through Toronto and Detroit!!!

  6. daaamnnnnn Delta, back at it again with the joint ventures.

    Have a useless mileage program, blame the ME3 = profit??
    Then buy stakes in partner airlines, joint venture all the airlines, and happy cheerleaders from the states of Georgia, Utah, Michigan and Ohio.

  7. The important question is now whether you can now get lounge access as an elite on an international flight to Canada. I always got denied flying LGA-YYZ on a DL codeshare operated by WestJet.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.