WestJet announced on 01MAY that it has completed its acquisition of Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines. The transaction was first announced in MAR 2022 and was approved by the Canadian government in MAR 2023.
According to a press release, the airlines will initially continue independent operations. As the two entities merge, the combination of these businesses will be planned in a way that positions Sunwing as a pillar of the WestJet Group, and prioritizes the experience of a growing number of guests, says the WestJet statement.
"As we have set out on our new strategic trajectory for the WestJet Group, investing further in leisure and sun flying across Canada is a critical driver for growth," said Alexis von Hoensbroech, Chief Executive Officer of the WestJet Group.
"It brings me great pleasure to welcome Sunwing to the group, adding 18 Boeing 737s, 2,000 employees and Canada's largest vacation tour operator and significantly expanding our footprint in Eastern Canada."
Stephen Hunter, formerly the CEO of Sunwing Vacations, has been appointed CEO of the WestJet Group's Vacations Business, responsible for all tour operating and vacation package businesses of both the Sunwing Vacations and WestJet Vacations brands.
"I am thrilled to join forces with WestJet and, in doing so, create even more opportunities for our people and deliver greater value for Canadian travellers," said Stephen Hunter, CEO of the WestJet Group's Vacations Business.
As previously announced, the WestJet Group's newly combined tour operator businesses, comprised of WestJet Vacations and Sunwing Vacations, will be headquartered in Toronto and will continue to operate a Montreal office. In the coming years, the Vacations Business expects to facilitate new flying and new employment opportunities by retaining Sunwing's aircraft in Canada year-round, among other sources of anticipated growth.
"We are excited to welcome Sunwing's employees to the WestJet Group of Companies; throughout the planning of this transaction, we have been continually impressed by their expertise and experience in the vacations industry," concluded von Hoensbroech." We look forward to working alongside them to deliver memorable services to an expanding number of Canadians."