Competition Bureau raises concerns surrounding WestJet, Sunwing deal

The Competition Bureau says WestJet’s proposed acquisition of Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines is likely to result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in the sale of vacation packages to Canadians.

The regulator says that eliminating the rivalry between the integrated airlines and tour operators would likely result in increased prices, less choice and decreases in service for Canadians.

It says it would also likely result in a significant reduction in travel by Canadians on a variety of routes where their existing travel networks overlap.

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WestJet announced a plan in March to buy Sunwing, a move that would bolster its holiday tour business. Financial terms of the agreement, which would see Sunwing’s shareholders become equity holders in the WestJet Group, were not disclosed.

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The regulator’s concerns were outlined in a report delivered to the Minister of Transport. Transport Canada is also conducting a public interest review of the proposed transaction.

The final decision regarding the deal will be made by cabinet, based on a recommendation from the minister.

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