It’s official, WestJet has received approval from the Government of Canada to acquire Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines.
The transaction will combine two distinctly Canadian travel and tourism success stories to deliver new travel options and value for travellers in the rapidly expanding leisure and work-from-anywhere travel markets.
The combination will enable both companies to protect and create jobs and rebuild strength in the Canadian travel industry at a critical time.
Following the close of the transaction, the WestJet Group will have a new tour operating business that includes Sunwing Vacations and WestJet Vacations Inc., led by Sunwing CEO Stephen Hunter.
Sunwing’s current shareholders will become equity holders in the WestJet Group.
The tour operator business will be headquartered in Toronto, with a Quebec head office in Laval, with the Sunwing brand marketed alongside WestJet Vacations.
The WestJet Group will maintain its head office in Calgary.
Instead of Sunwing supplementing seasonal demand with imported aircraft, the combined group will have dedicated aircraft operating year-round in Canada.
The acquisition will improve the WestJet Group’s ability to offer more affordable fares by immediately expanding its low-cost footprint in Canada. As a result of the resiliency created by the transaction, Sunwing expects to no longer require the pandemic-related Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) the airline obtained from the Canadian government in early 2021, which the airline will fully repay upon closing of the transaction.