The federal Competitors Bureau has raised important considerations about WestJet Airways Ltd.’s proposed acquisition of Sunwing Holidays and Sunwing Airways, saying the deal will doubtless end in greater costs and decreased service for Canadians.

In a report delivered to Canada’s transport minister on Wednesday, the regulator mentioned eliminating the rivalry between the 2 corporations is more likely to end in a considerable lessening or prevention of competitors within the sale of trip packages to Canadians.

“The proposed transaction will end in certainly one of Canada’s largest built-in tour operators being acquired by certainly one of its major rivals within the provision of trip packages,” the report acknowledged.

“General, WestJet and Sunwing account for about 37 per cent of continuous capability between Canada and solar locations and 72 per cent of continuous capability between Western Canada and solar locations.”

WestJet introduced a plan in March to purchase Sunwing, a transfer that may bolster its vacation tour enterprise. Monetary phrases of the settlement, which might see Sunwing’s shareholders develop into fairness holders within the WestJet Group, weren’t disclosed.

Monopoly on 16 routes

In its report, the Competitors Bureau famous {that a} merger of the 2 carriers would create a monopoly on 16 routes between Canada and Mexico or the Caribbean, and would reduce or stop competitors for the supply of trip packages on 31 whole routes between Canada and Mexico or the Caribbean.

However in an emailed assertion Wednesday, Sunwing spokeswoman Melanie Anne Filipp mentioned the routes recognized as considerations are predominantly in Western Canada and account for a really small portion of Sunwing’s operations — simply over 10 per cent of all seats — and are primarily seasonal routes.

“Additionally of notice, Sunwing not operates six of the routes talked about within the report,” Filipp mentioned. “We stay assured that this transaction is nice information for Canadians.”

In a information launch, WestJet mentioned the proposed Sunwing transaction is a central piece of the Calgary-based airline’s dedication to prioritize leisure and solar journey from coast to coast and improve inexpensive air and trip package deal choices for all Canadians.

Transport Canada can also be conducting a public curiosity overview of the proposed transaction. The ultimate determination concerning the deal will probably be made by cupboard, based mostly on a advice from the minister.

Closing determination not till December

WestJet mentioned that call will contemplate further components, together with WestJet’s promised preservation of Sunwing’s model, its dedication to take care of Sunwing’s Toronto and Montreal workplaces, new flying that will probably be created by retaining Sunwing’s plane in Canada year-round and the ensuing new employment alternatives.

“We thank the Competitors Bureau and welcome their report,” WestJet government vice-president Angela Avery mentioned within the launch. “We look ahead to bringing this transaction to life for the good thing about Canadian vacationers, communities and staff.”

The businesses have mentioned they count on the transaction to shut by spring 2023, pending remaining regulatory and authorities approvals.

Robert Kokonis, president of Toronto-based consultancy AirTrav Inc., mentioned he wasn’t shocked that the Competitors Bureau flagged points with the proposed Sunwing-WestJet deal.

“You knew earlier than this entire course of began that in fact WestJet is the dominant participant in Western Canada and Sunwing is the most important package deal trip firm within the nation, and the 2 collectively could be a extra dominant pressure within the West,” Kokonis mentioned.

“However I might desire to see the federal government selling competitors in different methods. For instance, creating the proper regulatory atmosphere for the creation of latest carriers,” he mentioned.

Kokonis mentioned there’s nothing stopping one other provider from beginning service on any of the routes that had been flagged by the regulator for lack of competitors.

He added the proposed acquisition of Sunwing is a significant a part of WestJet’s plan to refocus its enterprise in Western Canada, and mentioned the deal will create a big variety of jobs within the West since it’s going to flip seasonally operated plane into year-round jets. Presently, Sunwing meets seasonal demand by leasing the majority of its fleet by means of the winter.

“The Competitors Bureau’s place right here is probably going going to be perceived as a swipe at Western Canada by the central powers in Ontario and Quebec,” Kokonis mentioned.

By sampay