Take Stock_May 26

WestJet Airlines Ltd.’s (TSX:WJA) ambitions to expand further into U.S. markets were dealt a setback Monday, after Texas-based discount carrier Southwest Airlines put off implementing a code-share agreement inked last year with the Canadian company.

WestJet, Southwest delay code-sharing deal

WestJet Airlines Ltd.’s (TSX:WJA) ambitions to expand further into U.S. markets were dealt a setback Monday, after Texas-based discount carrier Southwest Airlines put off implementing a code-share agreement inked last year with the Canadian company.

The arrangement, which would allow the two airlines to sell tickets on one-another’s aircraft and make transferring between the two networks easier for travellers, was to have come into effect in late 2009. “In response to the current economic environment, Southwest is focusing its immediate attention on several critical objectives, including increasing our revenues,” said Southwest executive vice-president Bob Jordan.

“While I am very excited about working to deliver new incremental revenue opportunities for 2009, it will have an impact on our timing for code-share delivery. We remain absolutely committed to our partnership with WestJet, and to code-sharing in general, and will do all we can to minimize the impact on our previously stated code-share plans.” A statement from WestJet and Southwest Monday did not specify when the deal is expected to move forward.

Imperial oil pressing ahead with Kearl project

Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO) is charging ahead with its long-awaited Kearl oilsands project. The Calgary-based company said Monday the mining project northeast of Fort McMurray, Alta., will cost an estimated $8-billion to build — unchanged from its original 2004 estimate.

The company had been set to make a decision on Kearl last year, but took extra time to renegotiate contracts in an effort to cut costs. “At the end of last year when the business downturn began in earnest, we made the conscious decision to take the time necessary to look at the project again and look for ways to push costs out of the project,” Imperial spokesman Gordon Wong said.

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