WestJet, Air France, KLM work toward code-share

Thu Feb 5, 2009 12:11am EST
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - WestJet Airlines Ltd said on Wednesday it has agreed to study a code-share alliance with Air France and its subsidiary KLM that would be its second such arrangement with nonCanadian carriers and one that will give its customers easier access to Europe.

WestJet, Canada's second-largest airline, said the carriers have signed a memorandum of understanding to come up with a formal code-share late this year or early next year.

Before that, they will look for opportunities to coordinate through accepting each other's tickets and checking in each other's passengers and baggage.

The agreement would follow WestJet's partnership with U.S. low-cost peer Southwest Airlines Co, which is due to take effect this year.

Code shares are arrangements that allow each airline to put its flight code on a single flight operated by one of the partners as a way to boost reach and frequency as well as make bookings easier for customers.

WestJet said it expected to make connections with Air France and KLM flights in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

WestJet shares rose 31 Canadian cents to C$13 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

($1=$1.23 Canadian)

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Peter Galloway)