CALGARY — WestJet Airlines Ltd. said Wednesday its planes could soon fly into New York’s LaGuardia airport after it snapped up takeoff and landing slots in an auction.
The Calgary-based carrier (TSX:WJA) said it bid on eight so-called “slot pairs” — which means one arriving flight and one departing flight — in an auction held by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority.
Over the next several days, WestJet will work to finalize the transaction according to FAA requirements, and will look to secure U.S. customs pre-clearance from Canada. Schedule information will be announced later.
WestJet chief executive officer Gregg Saretsky called the bid a “once- in-a-lifetime opportunity” as access to LaGuardia is strictly limited.
The ability to serve New York will help in the airline’s strategy to attract more business travellers, he added.
“Our growth plans, in which increased business travel in the East figures prominently, includes New York City, Canada’s largest international business market and we look forward to providing our guests with frequent, year-round service to the core of the Big Apple.”
WestJet shares dropped more than 2.6 per cent to $11.13 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.