WestJet eyes Island airport (and maybe Porter)/More wi-fi in sky/Deal of day
It's hardly a surprise, but it has to be a tad disconcerting to opponents of the Toronto Island airport.
In Toronto on Thursday to take ownership of his company's first Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft, the ones they'll use on their Encore service starting June 24, WestJet president and CEO Gregg Saretsky said he would, indeed, like to fly out of Toronto's Billy Bishop island airport someday.
Star business reporter Vanessa Lu quoted him in today's Star as saying that he's; "interested in every airport that this beautiful aircraft can get into."
There aren't any slots available at the island airport right now but taking control of their first turboprops at least makes Billy Bishop a feasible spot for WestJet.
"This changes the game in Canada and we intend to be a player," Saretsky said.
He also issued one of his stronger comments on the future of Porter Airlines that I can remember. There's tons of talk in travel circles that Porter, which is aiming to use jets at the island airport, is interested in a takeover. Most folks have mentioned WestJet as the most obvious candidate.
Asked about a Porter purchase, Saretsky said that "anything is possible."
"Would we fly one to day to London, Paris, Shanghai and Beijing? Absolutey, that's possible. Would we buy another airline? That's possible, too."
In a story in today's Globe and Mail, meanwhile, Saretsky said WestJet should have a definite Wi-Fi agreement in place by the end of the year and that the company's first aircraft should be outfitted with the service pretty quickly after that.
It's about bloody time. Air Canada has been trying out paid Wi-Fi on flights from Toronto and Montreal to Los Angeles since around the time of the Diefenbaker administration. They hint at various problems with the service and say they're still studying it but, honestly, does it really take this long?
AIR CANADA BUMPING PETITION
Another good story here from Vanessa Lu talks about how more than 12,000 travellers have signed an online petition to demand that Air Canada boost the money it pays out to people who get bumped from an overbooked flight.
The petition, which can be found online at www.change.org, comes after a Canadian Transportation Agency ruling last week that called "outdated" the current $100 cash or $200 travel voucher Air Canada gives out.
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