WestJet Airlines says it will use low fares to compete with new discount rival NewLeaf but its "ancillary revenue" will come only from extra fees that it thinks will "add value" for its guests.
The Calgary-based airline's chief financial officer told an investor conference Thursday that WestJet won't follow NewLeaf by charging passengers for carry-on baggage or for printing boarding passes at the airport.
"We want to grow our ancillary revenues but we want to grow it through the things we think add value to our guests and their experience with us," WestJet CFO Harry Taylor told an AltaCorp Capital conference webcast from Toronto.
Winnipeg-based NewLeaf, which begins service next month, plans to start with two planes flying among seven secondary airports in Canada.
Its website clearly courted the budget traveller when its launch was announced Jan. 6, saying: "Your fare gets you the two essentials: a seat and a seatbelt. The rest is up to you."
As of Feb. 12, flights are available from seven Canadian airports:
- Abbotsford, B.C.
- Hamilton, Ont.
- Kelowna, B.C.
WestJet originally started in 1996 as a bare-bones discount carrier with a similarly small fleet, but has since grown and added amenities to its flights.