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WestJet plans to launch ultra-low-cost airline later this year

Calgary-based WestJet has announced plans to launch a no-frills ultra-low-cost carrier later this year.

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Calgary-based WestJet has announced plans to launch a no-frills ultra-low-cost carrier later this year.

WestJet will launch a new ultra-low-cost carrier by the end of the year, the company said in a release Thursday.

“We have built WestJet from its low-cost regional roots into a renowned international airline,” co-founder Clive Beddoe said in the release. “Today it’s all about disrupting at the price-sensitive end of the market.”

The airline – which is still subject to approval from regulators – will launch with 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which the release states have been designed by the company to be “high-density.”

Ultra-low-cost carriers, such as Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air, typically charge very low fares and tack on extra fees for perks and services like beverages, preferred seating or even printing a boarding pass.

“The worldview on low-cost airlines has changed since the launch of WestJet,” CEO Gregg Saretsky said. “The complete unbundling of services and products in order to lower fares has created the ultra-low-cost carrier category and our new airline will provide Canadians a cheap and cheerful flying experience from a company with a proven track record.”

The new airline is expected to compete with NewLeaf, a Winnipeg-based low-cost service that launched last year. Chief rival Air Canada launched its own discount airline, Rouge, in 2013.

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