The bizarre business espionage allegations by Air Canada about WestJet, a discount airline, are the subject of my column today in the National Post. I suggest, not entirely mischievously, that there is something much stranger going on here than mere busines sleuthing by WestJet:
There is a new twist in the Air Canada tale. While the bankrupt airline is still looking for a replacement guide out of bankruptcy, Air Canada is also taking its battle with discount airline WestJet to Ontario court â€“ and the circumstances cry conspiracy.
Air Canada alleges that the personal identification number of a former employee, who is now working at WestJet, was used to access Air Canadaâ€™s systems 243,630 times between May 15, 2003, and March 19, 2004. Air Canada argues in court documents that information available on that system allowed WestJet to target Air Canadaâ€™s most profitable routes and times.
It is just the latest development in a nasty rivalry.
WestJet, a Calgary-based discount airline, has been knocking the stuffing out of Air Canada, via a Southwest-style cost advantage. Air Canada isnâ€™t even close to being price competitive, so when it tries to fight back it just loses more money than usualâ€“ ergo, in part, the companyâ€™s entry into bankruptcy.