The following is a statement from WestJet:
Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines will be acquired by the WestJet Group of companies under a definitive deal announced today by WestJet and Sunwing.
In the rapidly increasing leisure and work-from-anywhere travel markets, the acquisition will bring together two distinctly Canadian travel and tourism success stories to create additional travel alternatives and improved value for passengers.
Both companies will be able to protect and create jobs, as well as reestablish strength in the Canadian travel industry, as a result of the merger.
Following the transaction’s completion, the WestJet Group will establish a new tour operating business unit that will encompass both Sunwing Vacations and WestJet Vacations Inc. and will be overseen by Sunwing CEO Stephen Hunter.
Sunwing’s present stockholders will become WestJet Group shareholders.
Through the combined strength of the companies, Canadian travelers will have access to more competitive flights and affordable holiday packages.
The tour operator company will be based in Toronto, with a Quebec headquarters in Laval, and will continue to promote the Sunwing brand alongside WestJet Vacations. The WestJet Group’s headquarters will remain in Calgary.
Sunwing Airlines will be added to the WestJet Group of enterprises. This will result in expanded capacity, as previously seasonal aircraft will be dedicated to year-round operations in Canada, rather than Sunwing supplying seasonal demand with imported aircraft, resulting in additional jobs for Canadians.
The WestJet Group will be able to provide more economical fares as a result of this acquisition, as it will instantly increase its low-cost footprint in Canada.
WestJet Group and Sunwing plan to expand on their cumulative history of positive labor relations by respecting all agreements with unions and employee associations, both existing and those presently being negotiated.
Sunwing intends to no longer require the pandemic-related Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) it got from the Canadian government in early 2021, which will be fully repaid upon the transaction’s completion.
The merger, which is still subject to regulatory approval, is expected to complete in late 2022.