Southwest maintains timeline for Volaris codeshare

By Lori Ranson

Southwest Airlines expects to introduce a codeshare with Mexican carrier Volaris next year as it temporarily delays a similar tie-up with Canadian airline WestJet originally scheduled for a debut in late 2009.

WestJet on 25 May announced the delay, citing Southwest's focus on more near-term revenue generating opportunities as the reason for the push back of the codeshare launch.

A Southwest spokesman says no planned changes have been announced so far with respect to the Volaris tie-up since it always had a 2010 launch date. "With Volaris being so far out, no decisions have been made to alter our plans," he says.

The planned codeshare with Volaris initially drew some criticism from Southwest pilots, who argued that Southwest risked brand dilution through the agreement.

Elements of a tentative agreement currently being voted on by Southwest pilots include restrictions on the size of Southwest codeshares if a certain fleet target is not met.

Despite the delay in forging its codeshare with WestJet Southwest says it remains committed to the arrangement, and has pledged to minimize the effects of its previously stated codeshare plans with its Canadian partner.

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