WestJet to expand reach via some Oneworld carriers

Tue Nov 4, 2008 3:52pm EST
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - WestJet Airlines Inc said on Tuesday it is teaming up with some members of the Oneworld airline alliance, led by British Airways Plc and AMR Corp's American Airlines, to broaden the Canadian carrier's international reach.

WestJet, Canada's No. 2 airline, said it and the group of international carriers will form the Canadaconnect corporate travel program, offering flights to 600 destinations in 130 countries.

The alliance may help WestJet better compete against its larger rival Air Canada, which offers international service and is part of the Star Alliance code sharing group.

WestJet said the other participating airlines in its Canadaconnect program include Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, Japan Airlines Corp, Quantas and Royal Jordanian. It said other members of the group may join in the future.

The airline said it has no plans to join the Oneworld alliance. The company has agreed to a code sharing agreement with Southwest Airlines Co, the biggest U.S. domestic carrier, that begins next year.

WestJet shares fell 30 Canadian cents to C$10.50 late afternoon on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

($1=$1.15 Canadian)

(Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Rob Wilson)