Transport Canada (TC) has granted the air operator’s certificate (AOC) for Calgary-based WestJet’s new ultra-LCC Swoop, clearing the way for inaugural flights June 20.

“Receiving our air operator’s certificate ticks the last check-box,” Swoop president and CEO Steven Greenway said.

Swoop's fleet will consist of former WestJet mainline Boeing 737-800s reconfigured with 189 seats. WestJet’s Swoop timeline has the ULCC launching with three 737-800s and ramping up to 10 by next spring and eventually as many as 40.

WestJet and its pilots navigated a major hurdle last week when an arbitrator ruled that the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) would represent pilots at both carriers. ALPA and WestJet are well into talks toward their first contract, and how Swoop would be staffed was a key sticking point. WestJet’s first Swoop pilot hires came from outside the company, but going forward, this will no longer be permitted.

Swoop’s first markets are Abbotsford, Hamilton, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Halifax. The carrier plans to launch US routes as part of its expansion.

Sean Broderick, sean.broderick@aviationweek.com