WestJet’s New Ultra Low Cost Carrier Will Be Called “Swoop”

Filed Under: Other Airlines, Ultra Low Cost Carrier

In April we learned that Canadian low cost carrier WestJet was planning on launching an ultra low cost carrier. Starting low cost subsidiaries is all the rage nowadays, but typically we see full service airlines forming these, rather than low cost carriers. However, with the direction that “full service” airlines have taken nowadays, I suppose it’s tough to differentiate between them and low cost carriers.

Well, today WestJet has revealed the name and logo for their new ultra low cost carrier, for which they’ll begin selling flights in early 2018. WestJet’s new ultra low cost carrier will be called Swoop. Here’s the explanation a WestJet executive has about the name:

“The name Swoop denotes exactly what we plan to do,” said Bob Cummings WestJet Executive Vice-President, Strategy and the executive member responsible for the launch of Swoop. “It’s a powerful verb that demonstrates we plan to swoop in to the Canadian market with a new business model that will provide lower fares and greater opportunity for more Canadians to travel.”

Okay, so I’m not usually a huge fan of airlines coming up with names that they think will appeal to millennials, like Air France’s Joon and IAG’s LEVEL. However, I actually sort of like the name Swoop, since I think the explanation makes sense (while I don’t really get what “Joon” or “LEVEL” are supposed to mean).

While I quite like the name, I find the livery to be atrocious. Like, seriously?! I’m sure some will disagree with me, and will find it to be fun, which I assume is what they’re going for with an ultra low cost carrier. So perhaps I’m in the minority.

While we don’t yet know what Swoop’s route network will look like, they have chosen Calgary for their headquarters, which is the same place that WestJet’s headquarters are.

Swoop will have a fleet of 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, and says that they’ll provide Canadians with “a no-frills, lower-fare travel option backed by an airline with a proven track record of bringing lower fares to Canadians and an investment-grade credit rating.”

Here’s the video Swoop has published explaining their business model:

So you can expect that Swoop 737s will have considerably more seats than WestJet 737s, and that they’ll charge for everything, from food to drinks to carry-ons to checked bags to seat assignments.

What do you make of the Swoop name and branding?

  1. the livery is the least of the concerns. I just hate now all these fake-millenial-faux-hip airlines are doing these single word BS like how the cell phone networks pushed out those 1-or-2 syllable phones in the mid-2000s

    why not just sink down to their LEVEL and SWOOP in like vultures

  2. In one fell Swoop they made the experience of flying in Canada worse.

    Problem with existing airlines starting ULLC’s is that normally they use them to replace exiting routes with low business travel rather than opening up new direct routes.

  3. A Canadian airline for Canadian Canadians serving Canada without even a single Canadian maple leaf designed into their Canadian logo or motif?

    Just doesn’t feel very Canadian to me.

  4. Hi Lucky, I think Joon is a play on the French word ‘jeune,’ which means young.

    Also, as far as Swoop is concerned, I’m glad to see an entrant in the ULCC market here in Canada, which is virtually unheard of (Flair/newleaf isn’t really a hugely viable threat or even widely heard of in my experience). However, my fear is that Swoop will be to WestJet what rouge is to AC: not a true low cost airline, just a lowER cost airline to target a different market segment and use older planes on lower yield/leisure routes.

  5. What the heck – I am so sick of stupid airline branding that supposedly appeals to millennials. Personally as a millennial, I find this all offensive. Just because we’re young doesn’t mean we don’t have a good artistic vision and taste. Nobody is attracted to names like Wizz, WOW, Swoop, Joon, Scoot, Peach, Spirit, LEVEL, Fastjet, Mango, Vanilla Air, HOP!, Up, Flyadeal, etc. They all sound like they came straight out of a first grader’s cartoon. I don’t know why it’s so hard for branding and corporate image officials to realize that the key to having a loyal, hip, customer base is what your brand offers. Not some flashy ugly colors and a short “catchy” name. Perfect example: Virgin America, hello, sophisticated yet hip at the same time because they have a solid product and corporate image.

    Honestly though, this pink scribbly thing is atrocious. What a disgrace to the plane. Also notice how none of these airlines have a meaningful, symbolic logo or livery. I mean come on now, seriously.

  6. Let’s see if they really do offer lower fares than regular airlines in the market, and not just the intro ones, but consistently lower fares.

  7. As @no name said, I hope they don’t take over the Calgary-Orlando route as I flew with Westjet on that route over the summer and was surprised with how they were (in a good way). The best part was that it only cost about $200 roundtrip (per person) and this was a 5hr international flight!

  8. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers really need to stop pretending that they know how to market to millennials. Its embarrassing.

  9. I’m going to start a youth-focused airline called Here Comes the Airplane. The flight attendants will feed you your inflight meals one spoonful at a time.

  10. Joon is pronounced like ‘jeune’, meaning young in French.

    Swoop is pronounced like swoop, meaning swoop in English.

    At least they don’t have the same vomit-inducing millenial fluff for a promotional campaign.

  11. Swoop is just another Rouge. It’s a means to continue to offer service in low yield, non business routes. As Westjet continues to mature it is finding that it’s cost structure continues to rise. Routes like Calgary-Orlando will obviously transition to Swoop. Airlines will continue to perform in this manner as long as the flying public continues to demand the lowest fare possible; everything else be damned.

  12. Agree with Gregg. Swoop is likely to be WestJet’s version of Air Canada Rouge. All leisure routes to the Caribbean, Florida, Las Vegas, Hawaii, etc. will eventually all be converted to Swoop, just like AC converted these routes to AC Rouge. The prices will likely not change much, just the service and comfort get worse. It will start in Calgary and spread to WestJet’s other hubs. The prices for Canadian domestic flights will remain very high.

  13. I flew WestJet recently. Maybe I missed something but I could swear they were already “low cost”. My WestJet flight from Calgary to London Gatwick did not include anything. Is there less than nothing? If so – what? My mind is boggled.

  14. The “I’m offended by people marketing to millennials” brigade are getting increasingly pathetic! It’s a brand name – who on Earth cares?

    Everyone involved knows it’s marketing speak – that is merely how the world works.

  15. Mon Dieu!!! Sacre rose!

    With no French translation, “Swoop” will surely cause a revolution in Quebec.

  16. @David S WS doesn’t charge for carryons, non-alcoholic drinks, or inflight entertainment. Swoop will charge for all these things.

    @callum the offense comes from being pandered to, usually by out-of-touch marketing people who purport to know the wishes of target demographic, but ends up being insultingly off-the-mark. If you’re a baby-boomer (I apologize in advance if you’re not,) how would you feel if I tried to sell you a service with nothing but Barry Manilow songs and leisure suits?

  17. @Der Fliegende Amerikaner Given WS is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, guess what their hometown NHL hockey team is named?

  18. phoenix – I’m not, I’m a millennial. They are not out of touch, they are merely marketing people. If you’re unaware of how marketing works then I’m afraid you’re the one who is out of touch.

    In case you are unaware, I guarantee that none of the people who worked on the name think millennials will be so amazed by the word “swoop” that they’ll specifically seek out the airline.

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