Sunwing Airlines

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Sunwing Airlines
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded2005 (2005)
Commenced operationsNovember 17, 2005 (2005-11-17)
AOC #Canada: 15022,[2] United States: U6WF143F[3]
Operating bases
Fleet size32[4]
Parent company
HeadquartersToronto, Ontario, Canada
Key peopleLen Corrado, President, Sunwing Airlines
Employees1,500 (2015)
A Boeing 757-200 with Skyservice and Sunwing dual-livery on it, August 2005

Sunwing Airlines Inc. is a Canadian low-cost airline headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. On May 1, 2023, WestJet announced that it had completed the acquisition of Sunwing Airlines.[6]


Sunwing Airlines offers scheduled and charter services from Canada and the United States to destinations within the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America in the winter months. During the summer months, the company offers domestic services across Canada.[7][8]

It is a subsidiary of WestJet, and its main Canadian bases are Montréal–Trudeau International Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The company also operates seasonal flight services from 23 local Canadian gateways, such as CFB Bagotville, Calgary International Airport, Deer Lake Regional Airport, Edmonton International Airport, Fredericton International Airport, Gander International Airport, Halifax Stanfield International Airport, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, Kelowna International Airport, Region of Waterloo International Airport, London International Airport, Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport, Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Regina International Airport, Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport, St. John's International Airport, Thunder Bay International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, Windsor International Airport, and Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.[9]

Sunwing Airlines' boarding music consists of various covers sung by Colin Hunter, the Airline's founder.


By 2004, Sunwing Vacations had become the second largest tour operator in Ontario. That year, a former Skyservice employee named Mark Williams approached the CEO of Sunwing Travel Group, Colin Hunter, and asked if he wanted to start an airline.[10] A few weeks later official plans to launch the airline were in place.

In November 2005, a Boeing 737-800 departing from Toronto to Santiago de Cuba was the airline's inaugural flight.[11] In December 2005, Sunwing flew its first direct flight from Sudbury, Ontario to Varadero, Cuba, making it one of the first international flights directly from the Sudbury Airport.[12]

In November 2006, the company flew its first flight out of Montreal.[13] By 2008, Sunwing Airlines had grown to operate in 29 cities.[14]

In 2015, it was announced that Sunwing had finalized a $350 million deal to acquire two Boeing 737-800 and four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft from Air Lease Corporation. The aircraft were due to be delivered over a four-year period from early 2016.[15] Seneca College and the University of Waterloo launched a partnership with Sunwing in 2016 to form a cadet program which includes flight training and mentoring through Sunwing.[16]

Sunwing joined the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) expedited screening program, TSA PreCheck, in January 2017. At that time, the TSA PreCheck program was available at 180 United States airports and works with 30 airlines.[17]

Sunwing delivered its first Boeing 737 MAX 8 on May 25, 2018.[18]

In March 2023, Canadian Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra approved the takeover of Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations by WestJet[19] with the acquisition completed in May 2023. On June 17, 2023, WestJet announced that they would merge Sunwing with the mainline business - the transition could take up to two years.[20][21]


A Sunwing Airlines Boeing 737-800 at Montréal–Trudeau International Airport. The airport serves as a Canadian base for the airline

Sunwing Airlines flies to various vacation destinations across the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. The most popular destinations include Varadero, Punta Cana, Cancun, and Montego Bay. Its parent company, the Sunwing Travel Group, is Cuba's largest travel provider internationally, sending over 700,000 vacationers to the destination each year.[22][23]

In Canada, the airline operates several domestic routes, including Toronto to Vancouver which operated daily as of Summer 2015, as well as maintaining year-round service to its most popular destinations. Other connections include Deer Lake, Gander, and St John's from Toronto.[24] As of Summer 2015, the airline operated service to Caribbean destinations from Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Columbus, Houston, Lansing, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Rockford.[25]

In summer, Sunwing Airlines sends many of their 737-800 aircraft over to Europe to operate for the TUI Group and Smartwings during their extremely busy season. The aircraft operate flights all around Europe for the two companies. This is reciprocated during the winter months with Tui and Smartwings sending several aircraft to Canada to operate Sunwing routes.

Sunwing had an agreement with ULCC Swoop that allowed passengers out of Hamilton, London, Edmonton, Abbotsford, and Winnipeg to book Sunwing vacation packages with Swoop flights.

In-flight services[edit]

In the past Sunwing offered meals on longer flights,[26] but the current menu (2023) offers light snacks and refreshments from a pay-as-you-go menu.[27]


Current fleet[edit]

As of October 2023, Sunwing Airlines operates an all-Boeing 737 fleet composed of the following aircraft:[4][28]

Sunwing Airlines fleet
Aircraft In
Orders Passengers Notes
Boeing 737-800 13 189 3 leased from Smartwings
Boeing 737 MAX 8 9
Total 22

Former fleet[edit]

Sunwing Airlines former fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Boeing 767-300ER 2 2011 2012 Leased from EuroAtlantic Airways

Accidents and incidents[edit]


  • In June, 2012, an unnamed individual and Transat A.T. submitted information to the Canadian Transportation Agency that was believed to challenge Sunwing's ability to operate an airline on the grounds of foreign ownership. In November 2012, the CTA announced that Sunwing operated within foreign ownership limits.[35]
  • In December 2016 a pilot was removed from the cockpit of a Sunwing flight and charged after it was determined that he was drunk.[36] A police spokesman indicated that it was Sunwing staff that determined the pilot was impaired and implied that his license would be revoked.[37]


  1. ^ a b "ICAO Designators for Canadian Aircraft Operating Agencies, Aeronautical Authorities and Services" (PDF). Nav Canada. May 4, 2023. p. 7. Retrieved February 26, 2023. Sunwing Airlines: SWG, SUNWING
  2. ^ Transport Canada (26 August 2019), Civil Aviation Services (CAS) AOC.
  3. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Quick Search Result for Sunwing Airlines". Transport Canada. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  5. ^ "Sunwing Airlines on ch-aviation". ch-aviation. Retrieved December 1, 2023.
  6. ^ "WestJet Group completes acquisition of Sunwing". WestJet. Retrieved May 2, 2023.
  7. ^ "Sunwing Airlines". CAPA Centre for Aviation. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  8. ^ Dixon, Guy (January 25, 2016). "How to Prevent the Sinking Dollar From Grounding Your Vacation". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  9. ^ "Destination Travel Guide". Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  10. ^ Savedra, Jen (July 17, 2006). "Sunwing "Does it Differently"". TravelHotNews. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "Sunwing Airline Soars From Toronto Pearson" (PDF). Toronto Pearson Today. February 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 28, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  12. ^ Sunwing Travel - Greater Sudbury Canada to Varadero every Wednesday, Havana Journal/Northern Life, December 28, 2005
  13. ^ Chiasson, Uguette; Beauregard, Chantal (November 6, 2006). "Sunwing's Inaugural Flight Out of Montreal to Punta Cana". TravelHotNews. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  14. ^ "New Carrier, Renovation for Windsor Airport". The Windsor Star. May 28, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  15. ^ "MAX for Sunwing". Airliner World: 13. February 2015.
  16. ^ "Sunwing's cadet program taking flight again". Pax News. February 24, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  17. ^ "Sunwing awarded entry into TSA PreCheck screening program". Travel Week. January 27, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  18. ^ "Sunwing Travel Group".
  19. ^ "WestJet's acquisition of Sunwing Airlines cleared for takeoff by Ottawa".
  20. ^ Chen, Andrew (June 19, 2023). "WestJet Shutting Down Sunwing Airlines –". – LIVE. LOVE. AVIATION. Retrieved June 19, 2023.
  21. ^ "WestJet to shut down Sunwing Airlines". Reuters. June 17, 2023. Retrieved June 19, 2023.
  22. ^ "U.S. Visitors to Cuba Will Accelerate With 12 Categories For Licenses". TravelWeek News. December 18, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  23. ^ Csanady, Ashley (December 17, 2017). "It's About to Get a Lot More Crowded and Costly on Cuba's Beaches". Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  24. ^ "Sunwing Ups Domestic Schedule, Offers Daily Toronto-Vancouver Flight". TravelWeek. January 22, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  25. ^ Smith, Kendea (June 2, 2015). "Sunwing Airlines connects Houston Texas to Freeport Grand Bahama". The Bahamas Weekly. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  26. ^ "Meals on sun destination flights: An endangered species". April 4, 2014.
  27. ^ "Award-winning inflight service | Sunwing Airlines".
  28. ^ "Sunwing Airlines Fleet Details and History". Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  29. ^ "Passenger's alleged bomb threat forces Sunwing flight back to Pearson". July 25, 2014.
  30. ^ "Passengers Diverted Again After Seeing SWAT Team Rush First Plane". ABC News. July 26, 2014.
  31. ^ "2 planes collide on the ground at Toronto's airport".
  32. ^ "Live Flight Tracker - Real-Time Flight Tracker Map".
  33. ^ a b c Ann, Virginie (January 5, 2022). "Airlines won't fly home Quebec passengers from Sunwing party flight to Mexico".
  34. ^ @airtransat (January 5, 2022). "1/2 We are aware of the situation regarding disruptive passengers who have traveled to Cancun and are now attemptin…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  35. ^ Deveau, Scott (November 6, 2012). "Sunwing Survives Foreign Ownership Challenge by Transat". Financial Post. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  36. ^ "'That's why we're sitting? Because we have a drunk pilot?': Passengers speak out after Sunwing pilot removed from flight". Calgary Sun. January 1, 2017. Archived from the original on January 3, 2017. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  37. ^ "Drunk pilot arrested in Canadian cockpit before take-off". BBC News. January 1, 2017. Archived from the original on January 1, 2017. Retrieved January 2, 2017.

External links[edit]