WestJet Airlines looks to launch new no-frills airline later this year

The tail of a West Jet plane dwarfs the Calgary skyline before the airline's annual meeting in Calgary

The tail of a West Jet plane dwarfs the Calgary skyline before the airline's annual meeting in Calgary

April 20 WestJet Airlines Ltd said on Thursday it plans to launch an ultra-low-cost carrier in Canada, in an attempt to grow its market share amid increasing competition.

The airline said it is still waiting for regulatory approval, but will roll out the service with 10 Boeing 737-800 planes.

"Our new airline will provide Canadians with a pro-competitive, cheap and cheerful flying experience", WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky said in a statement.

WestJet has not yet announced the name of the new airline, nor which destinations it will serve.

Canada's ultra low-priced carrier race is heating up, now that WestJet has thrown its hat into the ring.

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.

Westjet started in 1996 as a discount carrier but has recently faced increased competition on prices from Air Canada's discount brand Rouge and new carrier NewLeaf, which began offering ultra-low fares previous year.

No-frill airlines typically offer cheaper tickets by adding seats to their planes - which reduces legroom - and also charge extra for almost everything, including printing your boarding pass at the airport, as well as snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.

Last year, NewLeaf Travel started offering "no-frills" flights between smaller airports including Kelowna, B.C., Abbotsford, B.C., Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Moncton, N.B. and Halifax.

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