There were rumors some months back that WestJet was interested in expanding from its Hamilton (YHM) base to some of the Northeast's larger destinations, such as New York, Washington, Pittsburgh, Boston, etc. Their CEO, however, stated that WestJet was more interested in the present in expanding domestically from Hamilton. Transborder routes were, as I recall, seen as more of a long-term interest.
Which is, pardon my french, a damn shame.
When you get an oligopoly on a particular route, such as many of the transborder runs, the inevitable result is oligopoly pricing practices. Case in point: I often fly DCA-YYZ because my girlfriend lives in Toronto. Air Canada is the only Canadian airline to run this route, as with most of the transborder runs. And only two other lines fly the route (Continental and American Eagle).
Their fare for an advance roundtrip? Over $375 R/T. I buy from a ticket discounter, and usually have gotten a more reasonable deal ($200 or less), but now am paying upwards of $300. For a flight that's of less than an hour duration. It's skyway robbery.
Now, look at what Southwest offers from Baltimore to Buffalo--a walk-up fare of $112, plus tax. For a ticket to Toronto, Air Canada would have wanted over $600! And Southwest is currently offering the flights roundtrip at an advance purchase rate of $92.
Now, I know that Buffalo does not equal Toronto--the markets are separated by a 1-2 hour drive. But you can't tell me that Air Canada is justified in charging $200+ more for a flight that lasts just a few minutes longer than that of Southwest. If they had competition from an airline such as jetBlue or Southwest or WestJet, they wouldn't get away with it. But since they don't have such competition, they do get away with it.
Want me to go through JFK? Hell, I'll do it. Want me to travel up to BWI? Sure, the train ride's pleasant and cheap. As long as you can get me a low fare, I'll be aboard. But since AC and the two American carriers on the route all basically have similar prices, I'm going to be paying through the nose for a good, long time.
The one thing that could really help Toronto passengers, however, is a cheap bus or van service from Toronto to the Buffalo Airport. This would allow TO travelers to connect with Southwest and jetBlue flights at BUF and avoid paying the overpriced fares of Air Canada. Wish only that someone would bring it to town.