April 18, 2012 / 1:07 PM / 6 years ago

Westjet expands deal with Thomas Cook Canada

(Reuters) - Canada’s WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA.TO) said it expanded its deal with the Canadian arm of European travel firm Thomas Cook Group (TCG.L) to exclusively provide vacation flights for the tour operator in Canada.

A worker changes the window display of Thomas Cook in Loughborough, central England December 14, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Under the deal, WestJet will provide higher seat capacity for Thomas Cook’s Sunquest vacation product for the 2012-2013 winter season.

WestJet plans to extend leases on three aircraft that were due to be returned in early 2013, to provide a part of the seats purchased by Thomas Cook.

Last week, Canada’s Chorus Aviation Inc CHRb.TO lost its contract to run Thomas Cook vacation flights from Canada, three years before the contract was to end, because the European travel firm was seeking more operating flexibility.

WestJet operates a single fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. The uniform fleet, which brings with it lower maintenance, training and other costs, is often cited as a major reason why WestJet’s expenses are one-third lower than bigger rival Air Canada’s ACb.TO.

Shares of Calgary-based WestJet closed at C$14.18 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Maneesha Tiwari in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon

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