The US Transportation Department has announced its tentative approval of a proposed joint venture between Delta Air Lines and WestJet. As part of granting antitrust immunity for the deal, the department said the airlines would be required to exclude WestJet’s low-cost carrier Swoop from the alliance, and divest eight slot pairs at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
Based on 2019 Bureau of Transportation Statistics data, a proposed Delta-WestJet combination would have about a 28 percent share of scheduled US-Canada capacity. By comparison, Air Canada, which dominates the transborder market, would have 44 percent.
The DOT’s approval would also require WestJet to provide interline access to select carriers flying to Canada. The proposed joint venture would be subject to review in five years.
The two airlines have been working toward a joint venture since the signing of a memorandum of understanding in December 2017, expanding a codeshare partnership that dates back to 2012.
Currently the US-Canada border remains closed to all but essential travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, and reopening dates continue to be pushed back because of spiking COVID-19 infection rates in the US.