CALGARY, PARIS, and AMSTERDAM – WestJet, Air France, and KLM announced today they have signed a memorandum of understanding to build a new commercial relationship between the three airlines.

This memorandum of understanding allows the airlines to begin working on building a code-sharing agreement in late 2009 or early 2010. Prior to this, the carriers will contemplate additional opportunities including an interline agreement, namely acceptance of each other’s e-tickets, and through check-in of baggage and passengers, technology permitting. Possibilities for future frequent-flyer program cooperation will be explored as well.

A code-sharing agreement would involve the Canadian gateways of Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver where guests of the three airlines would connect with each other’s networks.

This memorandum of understanding is another step in WestJet’s strategy to increase connectivity, bringing additional travelers to its network, as well as offering more access for its guests to new destinations.

Dr. Hugh Dunleavy, executive vice president, commercial distribution, commented: “We are very pleased with this announcement today. This memorandum of understanding marks the successful execution of the next step in our strategic plan. We are proud to have strategic partners in Air France and KLM who share our values and our focus on the guest. They will be excellent partners and will provide our guests with the opportunity to seamlessly travel across their networks.”

For Air France and KLM, it is a great opportunity to strengthen their position in services to Canada and increase the number of destinations offered to passengers.