Federal government okays WestJet Airlines Ltd. acquisition of Sunwing

Federal government okays WestJet Airlines Ltd. acquisition of Sunwing

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The federal government has approved WestJet Airlines Ltd.’s acquisition of Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines.

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In a statement, Transport Canada said it considered the delays experienced by travellers last summer, as well as the customer service and communications challenges by Sunwing during the recent holiday season, when it made its decision.

“The acquisition will help maintain the stability of the sector as Sunwing will continue to provide more affordable vacation packages to Canadians, while being financially supported by WestJet,” it said.

Among the approval conditions laid out by the government, WestJet must extend Sunwing vacation package offerings to five new Canadian cities, maintain capacity on routes most affected by the merger and increase regional connectivity.

It said WestJet also needs to improve Sunwing’s baggage handling and maintain a vacations business head office in the Toronto area and a regional office in the Montreal area for a minimum of five years.

It must also increase net employment by 20 per cent over three years in the Toronto office, as well as gradually end Sunwing’s seasonal leasing practice to protect Canadian jobs. Sunwing, a privately owned travel company based in Toronto, currently employs approximately 2,200 people.

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