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WestJet's move to the Big Apple just the beginning

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WestJet Airlines (WJA-T), Canada's No. 2 competitor, will be returning to the Big Apple after winning prized takeoff and landing slots at LaGuardia Airport -- but its growth plans don't stop at New York City.

CEO Greg Saretsky tells BNN the price paid for the slots -- $17.6 million -- was almost irrelevant, since the slots are such valuable commodities.

"Because we're only 15 years old, we didn't get slots given to us for free like most of our competitors there. But we are a late-comer to the party, so we're paying a price to enter that party," Saretsky says.

"We think that that's such an important market to our eastern Canadian business strategy," he says.

And expanding to the largest American market is just the beginning of the company's growth strategy. He says the first step in accessing the emerging markets is finding partners to work with. "We've been careful to pick and choose quality carriers that will do a good job delivering guests to us and vice versa," Saretsky says.

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