To end all speculation, there is a big reason that Westjet moved operations to YYZ
Back in 2000, Westjet had plans to expand its presence at YHM
. Discussions took place between the airline and the HAA about Westjet's future growth and what YHM
could do to accommodate them. The HAA proposed and designed a terminal with 14 gates - a design which Westjet supported, and it was understood that the terminal would be constructed in time to meet Westjet's needs down the road.
A year passed by and the airport hadn't even begun construction. Around this time, Westjet started operations to YYZ
. Since the HAA hadn't started construction on the new terminal yet (and perhaps due to changes in the market?), Westjet let them know that they only needed 7 gates. Shocked, the HAA had to redo its design of the terminal and came up with a new design with 7 gates - again, a design that Westjet supported. A year passed, and again - the HAA hadn't started construction on the new terminal yet.
One can assume that the Hamilton Airport Authority brought this move on themselves. If Westjet had plans (years ago?) to rapidly expand in the east during 2004 (and were under the impression that a terminal would be available in YHM
to accommodate the growth), these plans were probably not reversible. With no more room to expand in YHM
(thanks to the HAA), Westjet probably had no other choice but to move to YYZ
Did Westjet get a sweet deal by the GTAA? Who knows. We can speculate all we want but we're never going to hear the right answer. From day one, Westjet has had very successful operations in/out of YYZ
, and any growth will continue that trend. Not only are we adding more flights in YYZ
, we're moving into TNew! How cool is that?
We all need to put this in perspective - Westjet is expanding in Canada's largest city, and YHM
is still a city in which Westjet flies to, albeit with a lot less flights. It's a shame that service is being dropped in YHM
, but the bottom line is that the airline industry is a business. If we aren't making money on routes such as YHM
then I'd expect my company, a company in which I have a vested interest in, to make the right decision and re-deploy the aircraft on routes which make money. Don't like my reason? Look at Air Canada - they're a perfect example of how to operate an airline by flying on routes that don't make money.
Nobody is saying that we aren't going to be adding more flights to YHM
in the future, either. If a terminal is built and the route makes financial sense, I'm sure we'll do it. After all, we still have a hangar in Hamilton that isn't going anywhere. I think the ball is in the HAA's court - play ball, build a terminal and the game is on, or hold it and end the game altogether.
I travel regularly from YYZ to YEG (about 20 times a year) . I can always get the same price if not cheaper on AC than WestJet. Here's what I get from AC: Food, entertainment, access to lounge, Aeroplan Miles, better schedule.
Why would I want to switch to WestJet...
You have the right to choose what airline you want to fly on, and if you feel that Air Canada is the better choice that's perfectly fine. If my dad has to fly on business and AC
offers the same fare (or slightly higher) than WJ, he'll fly AC
just for the Aeroplan points. I'm not holding a gun to his head telling him to fly WJ - even though he gets a great fare through me, an employee.
WestJet wants to compete here in the East, but their strategy just isn't going to work. The market is saturated given how cheap airfares are.
Westjet's strategy has worked for seven years and with the addition of LiveTV, improved legroom, leather seats, and more convenient schedules - they'll have even more to offer in the years to come. Sure the market is saturated with cheap fares, but how is that going to hurt Westjet? I think Jetsgo is the airline that's going to be hurting when the dust settles..