Calgary-based Enerjet, which is pursuing regulatory approvals for a low-priced commercial air service offering routes nation-wide, said it has known all along that WestJet would take action to defend its market position against new low-cost entrants.
Canada remains the only G7 nation without a true ultra-low-cost carrier in operation.
WestJet says it will unveil a new, ultra-low-cost carrier later this year that will cater to Canadian flyers looking for cheaper fares with no frills.
Westjet chief executive Gregg Saretsky said this marks a "complete unbundling of services and products" that used to be included in ticket prices, but did not elaborate.
"We have built WestJet from its low-priced, regional roots into a renowned, worldwide airline with service to 21 countries and today it's all about disrupting at the price-sensitive end of the market". "Our new airline will provide Canadians a pro-competitive, cheap and cheerful flying experience from a company with a proven track record".
Service is expected to start in late 2017 with an initial fleet of 10 high-density Boeing 737-800s designed by the airline that first brought low-priced air travel to Canada in 1996.
WestJet pilots filed membership cards today with the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to hold an election for representation by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA).
The tail of a WestJet plane dwarfs the Calgary skyline before the airline's annual meeting in Calgary, Tuesday, May 3, 2016.
Air Canada launched its discount brand Rouge with flights in 2013 servicing Europe and the Caribbean.
WestJet started as a discount carrier with three aircraft serving five destinations in Western Canada.
"Most "airlines within airlines" that have attempted to offer low-priced options for air travelers have failed in North America, including Zip, Ted, Song, Metrojet, Calite, and United Shuttle".