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WJI-VISIT MORAINE LAKE IN THE ROCKIES - A
ESTABLISHED IN 1995 AND STARTED OPERATIONS IN 1996. SCHEDULED & CHARTER, PASSENGER & CARGO, DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL, LOW-FARE, JET AIRPLANE SERVICES.
5055 11TH STREET NE
CALGARY, ALBERTA T2E 8N4, CANADA
CANADA WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1867, IT COVERS AN AREA OF 9,976,139 SQ KM, ITS POPULATION IS 30 MILLION, ITS CAPITAL CITY IS OTTAWA, AND ITS OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ARE ENGLISH & FRENCH.
JANUARY 1996: 2 737-275A'S (20588; & 20670).
FEBRUARY 1996: SERVICES FROM CALGARY, EDMONTON, WINNIPEG, VANCOUVER, KELOWNA & VICTORIA.
SEARCHING FOR 737-300'S.
1 737-200C (19743) EX-(NTA), (GUI) LEASED.
APRIL 1996: NOW 50,000 PASSENGERS.
EDMONTON TO CALGARY, CALGARY TO VANCOUVER, EDMONTON TO VICTORIA, EDMONTON TO WINNIPEG.
THE AIRLINE IS PARTLY OWNED BY CLIVE BEDDOE CHAIRMAN WHO ALSO HEADS CALGARY-BASED HANOVER GROUP, A PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY. ANOTHER SHAREHOLDER IS DAVID NEELEMAN, EX-PRESIDENT MORRIS AIR (MOR), WHICH WAS SOLD TO SOUTHWEST AIRLINES (SWA).
JULY 1996: PURCHASED 737-2A3'S (20299) EX-(SAH) (TO SOUTHWEST AERO TECHNOLOGIES, ROSWELL NEW MEXICO HANGAR FOR "D" MAINTENANCE CHECK AND HUSHKITS INSTALLATION).
AUGUST 1996: TO SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN.
1 737-200 (PJ071) DELIVERY.
SEPTEMBER 1996: IN SEARCH OF 737-200'S (SWA) FOR 2).
AS A RESULT OF A TRANSPORT CANADA AUDIT, WESTJET (WJI) VOLUNTARILY SUSPENDED FLIGHT OPERATIONS. THE SAFETY OF THE FLEET IS NOT IN QUESTION. (WJI) MANAGEMENT DEMANDED THAT GARETH DAVIES DIRECTOR MAINTENANCE BE REPLACED. GEORGE CAZEMIER WAS ASSIGNED AS THE NEW DIRECTOR, EX-CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL (CDI). DAVE HILL, THE INTERIM DIRECTOR QUALITY ASSURANCE IS TO REDO DOCUMENTATION.
OCTOBER 1996: RESUMES OPERATIONS.
NOVEMBER 1996: TO FORT MCMURRY IN NORTHERN ALBERTA.
HAS NOW CARRIED 500,000 PASSENGERS.
DECEMBER 1996: 1 737-200 (PK093), EX-(SWA). TO SABRETECH, PHOENIX FOR "D" MAINTENANCE CHECK, AGING FLEET MODIFICATIONS, CONFIGURATION CHANGES, AND REPAINT. 1ST "C" MAINTENANCE CHECK (PL762) IS DUE MARCH 1997.
JANUARY 1997: LOOKING FOR +2 737-200'S.
FEBRUARY 1997: 1ST YEAR ANNIVERSARY!
NOW HAS 5 737-200'S, 450 EMPLOYEES, 226 FLIGHTS TO 7 CITIES.
CLIVE BEDDOE (CEO) SAID 1ST 6 MONTHS 1996 = +$2.5 MILLION (NET PROFIT), TOTAL 1996 = +$100,000.
MARCH 1997: VIC LIKAWITSKI DIRECTOR QUALITY ASSURANCE (QA) (EX-(PWA), WARDAIR & TRANSPORT CANADA MANAGER QA, VANCOUVER), REPLACES DAVE HILL.
5TH 737-200 (PK093) ENTERS SERVICE AFTER "D" CHECK AT SABERTECH, PHOENIX. 737-200 (PL761) TO EVERGREEN INTERNATIONAL (EVR), MARANA, FOR 18 TO 20 DAY "C" CHECK.
MAY 1997: 340 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 30 FLIGHT CREW (FC) & 58 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT).
USA ROUTE TO LAS VEGAS.
737-200 (PL761) "C" CHECK AT EVERGREEN (EVR), MARANA, ARIZONA TAKES 18 TO 20 DAYS DUE TO MANPOWER AND NON-ROUTINE PROBLEMS. FOLLOWED BY (PL762) 20 DAYS. POSSIBLE 6TH 737-200 (20196), EX-(HOA).
JULY 1997: 737-200 "C" CHECK AT (EVR). SELLS 737-200 (PX701) TO NEW STARTUP CARRIER "VISTAJET" OF TORONTO.
SEPTEMBER 1997: TO REGINA, EDMONTON TO SASKATOON.
"C" CHECK, + AGING AIRPLANE & UPDATE MODIFICATIONS ON (PJ071), MOST OF THIS MONTH AT (EVR). (PY304) LEASED FROM (CAZ) FOR 30 DAYS. BUYS 6TH 737-200 FROM TRICOR LEASING (PK092, 21117), EX-SOUTHWEST AIRLINES (SWA), HEAVY MAINTENANCE CHECK AT DALFORT, (DFW).
OCTOBER 1997: (PJ071) AT (EVR) NOW DELAYED UNTIL LATER THIS MONTH, DUE TO UNEXPECTED STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS DISCOVERED IN "C" MAINTENANCE CHECK.
GEORGE CAZEMIR NOW DIRECTOR QUALITY ASSURANCE SWAPPED WITH VIC LUKAWITSKI NOW DIRECTOR MAINTENANCE (FOR CROSS TRAINING).
NEW CHARTER ROUTE, VANCOUVER TO PALM SPRINGS. EVENING CHARTERS TO EDMONTON, & TO RENO.
1 737-200 ADV (21117) EX-(SWA) (AT DALFORT AVIATION, TEXAS, FOR "D" MAINTENANCE CHECK & AVAERO HUSHKIT INSTALLATION.
DECEMBER 1997: CAPTAIN TIM MORGAN VP OPERATIONS (INCLUDING MAINTENANCE).
7TH 737-200 (21500), (GEH) 7 YEAR LEASED.
FEBRUARY 1998: WINNIPEG TO CALGARY, TO EDMONTON AND VANCOUVER.
1 737-200 (JT8D-9A), EX-(CAL).
MARCH 1998: IN 1ST 2 YEARS OF OPERATIONS = +76% PASSENGERS (PAX).
8TH 737-200 (20196) ("C" CHECK AT EAS INDUSTRIES, PERPIGNAN, FRANCE (EUR), BOUGHT FROM AIR FLEET CREDIT. LETTER OF INTENT (LOI) 9TH 737-200 (21739), EX-(ALO) ("C" CHECK AND PARTIAL "D" CHECK, AT SANTA BARBARA AVIATION SERVICES).
APRIL 1998: 340 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 30 FLIGHT CREW (FC) & 58 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT).
737-200 (PK0 93) "C" CHECK AT (EAS) INDUSTRIES, PERPIGNAN, FRANCE.
MAY 1998: USA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (DOT) OK'S FOREIGN AIR CARRIER PERMITS, ALLOWING CHARTER COMBI SERVICE TO USA & SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, AND BEYOND.
737-200 (PL762) "C" MAINTENANCE CHECK AT (EUR).
737-200 (JT8D-9A) (21739), EX-ALOHA (ALO) FOR TOTAL 9 737-200'S.
JUNE 1998: 737-297 (21739), EX-WEXFORD MANAGEMENT GROUP.
JULY 1998: WHILE 737-200 IS IN MODIFICATION WORK AT SANTA BARBARA AERO, WET-LEASES DC-9 FROM SPIRIT AIRLINES (SPR).
SEPTEMBER 1998: 4 ORDERS 737-281 (20563; 21766; 21769; 21771), EX-ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS (ANA), ITOCHU LEASED. 1ST 737-200 TO CON AIR, ABBOTSFORD BRITISH COLUMBIA FOR PAINTING, INTERIOR & AVIONICS MODIFICATIONS, SERVICE IN DECEMBER 1999.
OCTOBER 1998: SELECTS AVAERO TO HUSHKIT ALL FLEET.
NOVEMBER 1998: SASKATOON TO WINNIPEG.
3RD QUARTER = +$1.9 MILLION (+6.7%) RECORD! DESPITE YEARLY +73% CAPACITY AND PURCHASE OF 4 AIRPLANES.
NOW OPERATES 406X-WEEKLY.
BILL KWAS MANAGER QUALITY ASSURANCE & ENGINEERING RESIGNS TO JOIN SPAR AVIATION SERVICES, EDMONTON.
737-281 (21766) DELIVERY. 737-200 (PK691), POST DELIVERY "C" CHECK AT CONAIR, ABBOTSFORD. 737-200 (PK092) TO (EUR), PERPIGNAN, FRANCE FOR "C" CHECK.
JANUARY 1999: IN MARCH 1999 TO THUNDER BAY AND PRINCE GEORGE.
FEBRUARY 1999: CELEBRATES 3RD YEAR OF OPERATIONS.
STEPHEN SMITH PRESIDENT, EX-PRESIDENT AIR ONTARIO. CLIVE BEDDOE, CHAIRMAN.
NEW SERVICE TO BRANDON (MANITOBA), & GRAND PRAIRIE (ALBERTA), UNTIL 4/99.
737-200 (PK714) COMPLETES "C" MAINTENANCE CHECK AT CONAIR, ABBOTSFORD. 737-200 (PJ071) "C" MAINTENANCE CHECK AT (EUR). 737-200 (PL762) TO GO TO CONAIR FOR "D" MAINTENANCE CHECK/LAP JOINTS. 737-281 (21766, C-GXWJ), EX-AIR NIPPON (ANK).
MARCH 1999: 2 737-200'S (20807; 21694), EX-PEACH (PCH), TRITON (TIA) 5 YEAR LEASED.
APRIL 1999: 1ST QUARTER = +$4.4 MILLION RECORD! (EMPLOYEES GIVEN $1.14 MILLION IN PROFIT SHARING): +57% (RPM) TRAFFIC, +55% (ASM) CAPACITY, 71.6% LF LOAD FACTOR (+1).
340 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 30 FLIGHT CREW (FC) & 58 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
MAY 1999: REGULAR TRANSPORT CANADA AUDIT.
1998 FISCAL YEAR (FY) = +$6.5 MILLION (+$6.2 MILLION): +57% (RPM) TRAFFIC, +55% (ASM) CAPACITY, 71.6% LF LOAD FACTOR (+1).
NOW OPERATES 11 737'S TO 11 CITIES: VICTORIA, VANCOUVER, ABBOTSFORD/FRASER VALLEY, PRINCE GEORGE, KELOWNA, CALGARY, EDMONTON, REGINA, SASKATOON, WINNIPEG, AND THUNDER BAY. NEXT MONTH, VANCOUVER TO PRINCE GEORGE/SASKATOON.
5 YEAR MAINTENANCE CONTRACT FOR 9 737-200'S TO CONAIR, ABBOTSFORD, BRITISH COLUMBIA.
JUNE 1999: 1 737-204 (20807, C-GUWJ), TRITON (TIA) 5 YEAR LEASED, EX-BRITANNIA (BRI) (13TH AIRPLANE).
AUGUST 1999: $10 MILLION, 2 ORDERS (OCTOBER 1999) 737-200, 1ST UNICAPITAL LEASED (22055), EX-(CQT), & 2ND (21768, C-GEWJ), EX-(ANA), ITOCHU LEASED IN JANUARY 2000.
SEPTEMBER 1999: RESUMES EDMONTON TO GRAND PRAIRIE.
MIKE COMPSTON SENIOR MANAGER AIRCRAFT TECHNICAL SERVICES REPLACES VIC LUKAWITSKI, NOW MANAGER OPERATIONS AUDIT PROGRAMS.
OCTOBER 1999: IN JANUARY 2000 KELOWNA TO- LAS VEGAS CHARTER FLIGHTS.
NOVEMBER 1999: 4TH 737-200 (21768, C-GVWJ), EX-AIR NIPPON (ANK), TO CONAIR ABBOTSFORD FOR "C" MAINTENANCE CHECK. 737-200 (21694, C-GWWJ), TRITON (TIA) LEASED, EX-(PCH).
DECEMBER 1999: LEASES 10 ACRES OF LAND FOR NEW MAINTENANCE FACILITY, INCLUDING 140,000 SQ FT, HANGAR FOR 4 AIRPLANES, & 1 SIMULATOR, FOR COMPLETION BY NOVEMBER 2000.
JANUARY 2000: PLANS TO DEVELOP HUB IN HAMILTON, ONTARIO FOR SERVICE TO WINNIPEG, AND THUNDER BAY IN MARCH 2000, & TO OTTAWA, HALIFAX, & MONTREAL BY JULY 2000.
PLANS TO ACQUIRE 6 737-200'S, & EVALUATING NEWER AIRPLANES FOR 2001.
EXPECTS TO HIRE +300 EMPLOYEES FOR HAMILTON OPERATIONS.
1999 = 0.90 BILLION (RPM) TRAFFIC (+41.3%), +39.9% (ASM) CAPACITY, 72.3% LF LOAD FACTOR (+.7), +$10.8 MILLION (+143%).
MAINTENANCE CONTRACT TO (EAS) INDUSTRIES (EUR) FOR "C" MAINTENANCE CHECK ON 3 737-200'S.
FEBRUARY 2000: $616 MILLION, 20/30 ORDERS 737-600/-700'S. ALSO, 10/10 ORDERS 737-600/-700'S WITH 1ST DELIVERIES IN 2001 TO REPLACE 15 OLDER 737-200'S. (WJI) WILL HAVE ABILITY TO ADD UP TO 70 737-600/-700'S, OVER NEXT 8 YEARS.
MARCH 2000: 4TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF OPERATIONS!
IN 5/00, STOCK SPLIT OF 3-TO-2.
1-STOP WINNIPEG TO MONCTON, & NONSTOP HAMILTON TO MONCTON.
1999 = 1.03 BILLION (RPK) TRAFFIC (+41.3%).
APRIL 2000: 340 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 30 FLIGHT CREW (FC), & 58 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
IN 2000-06, FROM OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO HAMILTON AND ONTO WINNIPEG, & MONCTON.
1 737-2E3 (22703), EX-WINAIR (WII). 737-275C (19743) SOLD TO FACTS AIR (FAD), MEXICO.
MAY 2000: WESTJET (WJI) SERVES 14 CITIES.
SHARES HAVE RISEN 64% IN PAST YEAR.
1 737-2Q8 (23148), EX-LADECO (LDE), PEGASUS (PSS) 66 MONTH LEASED, EX-AMERICA WEST (AMW).
JUNE 2000: 1 737-2H4 FOR WESTERN CANADA OPERATIONS (21811). 1 737-281 (20563, /72 52 59, C-GGOF), EX-ALL NIPPON (ANA), TO BE PARTED OUT AND USED AS A CABIN TRAINER.
JULY 2000: 1 +4 ORDERS (2000-09) 737-2H4. 1 737-2M8 (659-21955, /80 58 48, C-FIWJ), EX-AMERICA WEST (AMW), UNICAPITAL (UAG) LEASED.
AUGUST 2000: 21999 = +$10.77 MILLION (+$4.43 MILLION): 1.45 BILLION (RPK) TRAFFIC (+41.3%); 72.3% LF LOAD FACTOR; 340 EMPLOYEES.
+6 ORDERS 737-700 FOR TOTAL 26.
SEPTEMBER 2000: CLIVE BEDDOE CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT, (CEO) & FOUNDER REPLACES STEPHEN SMITH (CEO), WHO RESIGNED AFTER A PERSONAL DISPUTE BETWEEN THE TWO.
IN 2000-11, REGINA TO WINNIPEG TO THUNDER BAY TO OTTAWA.
1 737-281 (21767, C-FTWJ), EX-(ANA). 737-201 (19418) & 737-219 (19931) PREVIOUSLY PARTED OUT.
OCTOBER 2000: SELECTS ROCKWELL COLLINS, FLIGHT DYNAMICS HEAD-UP GUIDANCE SYSTEM (HGS) FOR 10 737-700'S +10/48 OPTIONS.
NOVEMBER 2000: IN 2001-01 TO FORT MCMURRAY. EDMONTON TO FORT MCMURRAY.
1 737-281 (21770, C-FAWJ), EX-(ANA).
DECEMBER 2000: GEORGE CAZEMIER DIRECTOR LINE MAINTENANCE.
1 737-269 (21206), EX-FAUCETT (FCT), BOUGHT FROM AEROTURBINE (AUB).
JANUARY 2001: IN 2001-03, TO COMOX (5/WEEK) WITH CONNECTIONS TO EDMONTON, GRANDE PRAIRIE, REGINA, WINNIPEG & THUNDER BAY. LIMITED ADDITION TO BRANDON, MANITOBA, TIL 2001-05. ALSO, TO HAMILTON, AND REGINA - HAMILTON. MONCTON - OTTAWA. IN 2001-06, TO TORONTO PEARSON (737-700).
2000 = 1.45 BILLION (RPM) (+60.9%), +52.6% (ASM) CAPACITY, 76.2% LF LOAD FACTOR (+3.9); +$19.8 MILLION (+91%).
FEBRUARY 2001: 5TH YEAR ANNIVESARY!
STARTED TO MOVE INTO (WJI)'S NEW, $23 MILLION, 3-BAY MAINTENANCE HANGAR AND OFFICE COMPLEX.
MARCH 2001: IN 2001-07, TO OTTAWA, AND EDMONTON - HAMILTON.
APRIL 2001: 881 EMPLOYEES.
3RD 737-76N DELIVERY.
MAY 2001: USES 3-WAY, TECHNOLOGY LINK TO AID PEAK-HOUR DISPATCHERS, BY SMOOTHING OUT AIR TRAFFIC (ATC) PROBLEMS DURING PEAK PERIODS, GIVING DISPATCHERS MORE ABILITY TO ANTICIPATE, AND REACT TO WEATHER DELAYS, PEAK TRAFFIC CONGESTION, AND SYSTEM UNCERTAINTIES. IT INCLUDES FLIGHT EXPLORER, AN INTERNET-BASED, REAL-TIME, FLIGHT TRACKING & INFO SYSTEMS; DAVID R BORNEMANN ASSOCIATES, PC-BASED FLIGHT PLANNING, AIRPLANE TRACKING & FLIGHT CREW SCHEDULING SOFTWARE; AND, WSI JOINT TECHNOLOGIES, AVIATION WEATHER INFO. THIS RESULTS IN AUTOMATED EXCHANGE OF REAL-TIME DATA, & DISPLAYS INFO AMONG VARIOUS SYSTEMS THAT DISPATCHERS NEED TO MONITOR AND MANAGE FLIGHTS. (WJI) PERFORMED THE INTEGRATION TESTING.
MAINTENANCE CONTRACT TO SPAR AEROSPACE, CALGARY, FOR 7 737 "C" CHECKS.
JUNE 2001: 1 737-76N (28651, C-FJWS), (GEF) LEASED.
JULY 2001: 1ST 6 MONTHS = 0.94 BILLION (RPM) TRAFFIC (+55.1%), +58.3% (ASM) CAPACITY, 73.3% LF LOAD FACTOR (-1.4). 2ND QUARTER = +$5.3 MILLION/+C$8.2 MILLION, EXPRESSING GREATER-THAN-EXPECTED EFFICIENCIES ON FUEL BURN, AND RELIABILITY OF ITS NEW 737-700'S.
737-76N (30134, C-FKWS), DELIVERY.
AUGUST 2001: DISCUSSING POSSIBILITIES OF ACCELERATING ITS 737-700 ORDERS.
SEPTEMBER 2001: IN 2001-12, HAMILTON, ON-SUDBURY, ON (737-200) (ITS 18TH DESTINATION).
OCTOBER 2001: IN 2001-12, WINNIPEG TO SAULT STE MARIE (3/WEEK), AND TO THOMPSON (4/WEEK). IN 2002-01, KELOWNA TO HAMILTON (737-700, 1/WEEK).
NOVEMBER 2001: GEORGE CAZEMIER, DIRECTOR MAINTENANCE HAS LEFT THE COMPANY. STEVE OGLE, CHIEF MAINTENANCE OFFICER.
IN 2002-01, HAMILTON - ABBOTSFORD (WEEKLY).
1 737-76N (32581, C-GLWS) DELIVERY.
JANUARY 2002: 4TH QUARTER = +$5.9 MILLION (+14.3%) (+C$8.2 MILLION). 2001 = $23.1 MILLION (+23%) (+C$30.3 MILLION): 2.23 BILLION (RPM) TRAFFIC (+53.9%); +57.1% (ASM) CAPACITY, 74.7% LF (-1.5).
NEXT MONTH, WINNIPEG - LONDON, ON (ITS 21ST MARKET)/ - EDMONTON. IN 2002-03, WINNIPEG - REGINA (12/WEEK).
NEW 737-700'S ARE GIVING (WJI) INCREASED RELIABILITY AND +30% FUEL EFFICIENCY, ON ASM (CAPACITY) BASIS, STATED CLIVE BEDDOE, CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT & (CEO). 5TH 737-76N (32731, C-FZWS) DELIVERY WITH +7 MORE IN 2002.
FEBRUARY 2002: SUDBURY - WINNIPEG (4/WEEK). HAMILTON - SAULT STE MARIE - WINNIPEG. VANCOUVER - WINNIPEG (WEEKLY). CHARTERS FROM VANCOUVER TO LAUGHLIN.
MARCH 2002: IN 2002-05, EDMONTON TO CALGARY, TO TORONTO, PEARSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.
2 ORDERS (2002-11) 737-700.
APRIL 2002: 1ST QUARTER = +C$7.1 MILLION (+C$5.8 MILLION): 68.2% LF (-1.2).
MAIN BASE: CALGARY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (YYC).
MAY 2002: CONVERTS OPTIONS FOR 2 737-700'S, AND WILL TAKE A 3RD, 3 MONTHS EARLIER THAN PREVIOUSLY PLANNED.
June 2002: 1 737-76N (32881, C-GRWS), (GEF) leased.
July 2002: 2001 = +$23.38 MILLION (+$19.04 MILLION): 3.6 BILLION (RPK) TRAFFIC (+53.9%); 74.7% LF LOAD FACTOR; 4.67 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX) (+37.6%); 2,400 EMPLOYEES.
2 737-832 (30541; 800), Delta Airlines (DAL) 7 month leased.
August 2002: 1st 6 months = +C$19.4 Million (+34.7%).
To operate Toronto/Hamilton - Varadero charters 2002-12 to 2003-04. Also plans winter charter flights from Hamilton to Puerto Plata, Winnipeg to Las Vegas, and Mazatlan, Calgary to Mazatlan, and Edmonton & Vancouver, to Puerto Vallarta.
8th 737-76N (33378, C-GUWS) delivery.
September 2002: Begins construction of maintenance facility at Hamilton.
1 737-76N (33379, C-GWSE), (GEF) leased.
October 2002: 2 737-7CTs (32753, C-FWAD; 33656, C-FWAI) deliveries.
November 2002: Serves 21 Canadian cities. In 2003-01, Ottawa - Winnipeg. In 2003-02, Hamilton - Halifax.
2 737-7CT's (1239-32747, C-FWAF; 1254-33657 C-FWAI) deliveries. 2 737-832's (30541; 30800) returned to Delta (DAL).
December 2002: Abbotsford to Puerto Vallarta (Saturday charters) for Transat Holidays. Victoria - Puerto Vallarta (weekly charters).
Nav Canada is investing C26 Million to enhance air traffic safety by installing new Airport Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE) - a radar-based system that allows air traffic controllers to monitor and direct airplanes and vehicle movements on airport surfaces - over next 3 years at 8 airports across Canada: St John's, Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal Dorval, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver. (ASDE) is already in operations at Toronto's Pearson Airport.
737-7CT (33657, C-FWAO) & 737-76N (29886, C-GWSH) deliveries.
January 2003: In 2003-04, Windsor - Winnipeg, Windsor - Calgary (weekends).
737-7CT (32748, C-FWAQ) delivery.
February 2003: 4th Quarter 2002 = +C$9.3 Million/+$6.1 Million, due to rising fuel prices and a drop in demand. 2002 = +C$51.8 Million (+41.1%) (+C$36.7 Million).
In 2003-04, Montreal - Calgary. In 2003-06, Edmonton - Comox. Moncton - St John's (4/week). Moncton - Gander (3/week). In 2003-07, Montreal - Hamilton, Vancouver.
737-2A3 (20299) parked at Newcastle for donation to Kingston University. 737-7CT (32749, C-FWBG) delivery.
March 2003: Halifax - Hamilton (737-700, nonstop).
737-7CT (32750, C-FWBL) delivery.
April 2003: 2,327 employees.
Montreal Dorval - Calgary (daily nonstops).
June 2003: Signed agreement with Aviation Partners/Boeing to install blended winglets on its fleet of 737-700's (94 shipsets) over next 6 years starting in 9/03.
Gander - Moncton (3/week).
July 2003: Will become the 1st Canadian carrier to feature in-flight satellite television in every seat back after signing a contract with LiveTV, a subsidiary of JetBlue (JBL). Programming will be provided by Bell ExpressVu.
In 2003-09, Toronto - Winnipeg (2/day), Montreal to Halifax, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, and Thunder Bay (daily). Ottawa - Edmonton (6/week), Ottawa - St Johns (4/week), Ottawa - Gander (3/week). Halifax - Ottawa, Saskatoon - Winnipeg, & Winnipeg - Thunder Bay, all 3 routes (2/day).
Will enter the trans-border market within 12 months. 2002 = +$33.00 Million (+$23.72 Million): 5.48 Billion (RPK) traffic (+52.3%); 73.2% LF load factor; 5.86 Million passengers (PAX) (+25.5%).
21st 737-7CT (33698, C-FWCN) delivery.
August 2003: 2-year contract with Air Transat (AIJ) parent, Transat to operate 737 charters to Varadero, the Dominican Republic, Cancun, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta, on behalf of World of Vacations and Air Transat Holidays, Transat's 2 major tour operators.
737-7CT (32757, C-FWBF) delivery.
September 2003: Calgary - Thunder Bay (daily). Montreal - Halifax (daily). Ottawa - Edmonton (weekdays). Ottawa - Gander (3/week). Toronto - Winnipeg (2/day). Winnipeg - Vancouver (daily). Ottawa - St John's (3/week).
2002 = +$33 Million (+$23.7 Million): 5.49 Billion (RPK) traffic (+52.4%); +55.2% (ASK) capacity; 73.3% LF load factor (-1.4); 5.9 Million passengers (PAX) (+25.5%); 3,120 employees (+34.1%).
Is selling 5.155 Million shares to raise # C$125 - 150 Million.
2002 TOP WORLD AIRLINES TRAFFIC RPK (Billion):
93 (RAM) 6.38; 94 (EXPRESSJET) 6.36; 95 (QTA) 6.20; 96 (COI) 5.96; 97 (AAL) EAGLE) 5.94; 98 (LOT) 5.87; 99 (FRO) 5.45; 100 (WJI) 5.49; 101 (MAU) 5.34; 102 (ATLANTIC SE) 5.31; 103 (JPL) 5.16; 104 (SHA) 5.15; 105 (AVI) 5.10.
Converted 2 options 737-700's to firm orders (2004-06) for total 32/42 orders.
737-7CT (32754, C-FWBJ) delivery.
October 2003: Is removing 4 seats from its 737-700's to reduce seating to 136Y and increase pitch from 31in to 32in.
In 2004-01, will operate 174 monthly charters on behalf of Air Transat Holidays and Signature Vacations from Hamilton, Ottawa, and Toronto to Cancun and Punta Cana.
November 2003: Long-term multiyear contract with (ARINC) for a new digital voice network to link (WJI)'s airport ramp operations in 24 cities with its HQ in Calgary.
Approximately $360 Million for exercising options on +7 737-700's for delivery in 2005.
December 2003: Operates weekly charters for Air Transat (AIJ) Holidays from Victoria to Puerto Vallarta and similar charters to Cancun.
In 2004, non-stops Ottawa to Vancouver, Victoria, & Toronto, Winnipeg to Montreal, & Ottawa, and Moncton to Montreal.
Will deliver 11 737-700's in 2004.
January 2004: 4th Quarter = +C$12.8 Million/+$9.7 Million (+37.4%) (+C$9.3 Million): +44.3% (RPM) traffic; +41% (ASM) capacity; 684.7 mi stage length (+15.1%). 2003 = +C$60.5 Million/+$9.89 Million (+16.9%) (+C$51.8 Million/+$5.9 Million): 2.14 Billion (RPK) traffic (+44.4%); 70.6% LF load factor; 6.98 Million passengers (PAX) (+19.1%).
737-7CT (32758, C-FWSJ) delivery.
February 2004: In 2004-05, Ottawa - Vancouver (daily). In 2004-06, daily Halifax - Calgary; Toronto - Victoria. In 2004-07, Moncton - Calgary (3/week); St John's - Calgary (4/week). In 2004-10, to USA destinations: Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Phoenix, & Palm Springs.
Signs a 5-year agreement with Sabre to implement the Sabre Resource Management suite.
727-171C (19859), ex-Echo Air (ECO), used as ground safety trainer. 737-7CT (32759, C-FWSO) delivery.
March 2004: Next month, is moving all flights to Montreal & Ottawa from Hamilton to Toronto, where it will operate from Terminal 1 instead of Terminal 3. The switch will triple its operation in Toronto.
737-7CT (32760, C-FWSV) delivery.
April 2004: Ontario Superior Court issued a temporary order barring WestJet (WJI) from accessing an internal Air Canada (ACN) website and from using any confidential info it may have gleaned from the site. (ACN) had filed a claim against (WJI) charging that (WJI) had engaged in industrial espionage. (WJI)'s Mark Hill, VP Strategic Planning (one of four founders) was named in the lawsuit, and has been placed on leave pending resolution of this case (he later resigned from (WJI)).
May 2004: 2 737-7CT's (32761, C-FWSX; 32762, C-FWSY) deliveries. 5 orders (2005-02) 737-700's changed to 737-800's.
June 2004: In 2004-09, Calgary & Toronto to Los Angeles (daily). In 2004-10, Calgary - San Francisco (2/week); - Phoenix (2/week); - Orlando (2/week); - Fort Lauderdale (weekly).
2 737-7CT's (32763, C-GWAZ; 33969, C-GWJO), deliveries.
July 2004: Received Supplemental Type Certificates (STC)'s from (FAA) & Transport Canada to install LiveTV equipment on its 737-700's. 1st airplane installation has been completed in Orlando, Florida, and (WJI) is inviting bids for installation on remaining 31 airplanes.
In 2004-09, Toronto - New York LaGuardia (12/week nonstop). In 2004-10, Toronto - Tampa (4/week nonstop); - Orlando (6/week nonstop); - Ft Lauderdale (4/week, nonstop). In 2004-12, Vancouver - Los Angeles (6/week nonstop). In 2004-01, Calgary - Palm Springs (2/week, nonstop).
+6 orders (2005-02) 737-600's.
August 2004: 2 737-7CT's (32764, C-FGWJ; 33970, C-GCWJ) deliveries.
September 2004: Toronto - New York LaGuardia (12/week); - Tampa (4/week). In 2005-01, Calgay - Palm Springs.
737-7CT (32765, C-FUWS) delivery.
October 2004: Next month, Toronto - Fort Lauderdale.
Converted 1 737-600 option to firm order with delivery 2006-01.
November 2004: In 2005-01, Toronto - Kelowna. In 2005-02, Calgary - Halifax.
Selected Kinetics, a subsidiary of the (NCR) Group, as its supplier of self-service hardware & software solutions for its "Check n' Go" passenger check-in program, including both airport- & Internet-based check-in technologies. WestJet (WJI) has ordered 29 Kinetics TouchPort II self-service units, several of which are installed and operational at Calgary, Ottawa, & Edmonton airports. The units will be installed at Winnipeg within the next few weeks.
January 2005: Teams with Aviation Partners Boeing (AVP) to certify Blended Winglets for the 737-600. Blended Winglets will give WestJet the additional range and fuel margins to help initiate longer Extended Twin Engine Operations (ETOPS)-type operations to international destinations.
4th Quarter = -C$46.3 Million/-$37 Million (+C$12.8 Million). 2004 = -C$17.2 Million (+C$60.5 Million).
737-7CT (32767) delivery.
March 2005: 737-8CT (32769, C-FEWJ), Pegasus (PSS) leased.
April 2005: Delays retirement of 737-200'S because of increased business as a result of JetsGo's (JTG)/(ROY) demise.
May 2005: 3,900 employees.
737-2H4's (21593; 21811) sold to Apollo Aviation Capital.
June 2005: 4 737-8CT's (34152, C-GJWS; 34153, C-GWSA; 34154, C-GWBL; 32770, C-GZWS), delivery.
July 2005: 737-2T4 (22055), 737-281 (21766), & 737-284 (21500), sold to Apollo Aviation. Has sold the rest of its 737-200 fleet to Apollo Aviation, Miami. Apollo has also purchased WestJet (WJI)'s inventory of spare parts and engines, as well as the 737-200 flight simulator. 737-7CT (32771, C-FMWJ), delivery.
August 2005: 4,778 employees (+22.5%).
737-6CT (34284, C-GPWS), delivery.
October 2005: WestJet (WJI) inaugurated nonstop service from Toronto to Fort Myers yesterday. (WJI) is now operating 4x-weekly with its Boeing 737-700. (WJI) also announced that it will launch 5x-weekly service from Vancouver to Honolulu starting December 9 and 2x-weekly service to Maui from December 17.
(WJI) Executive VP-Operations Tim Morgan left the airline October 18 "for personal reasons," the company said in a statement. Morgan was one of the founders of WestJet (WJI). President & (CEO) Clive Beddoe expressed regret at his departure, noting that he "contributed greatly to our success over the past 10 years." Morgan also was a member of the airline's board.
Separately, (WJI) said its board approved the purchase of a 737-700 through conversion of an option. Delivery will occur in December 2006.
737-6CT (34285, C-GWSB), & 737-7CT (34156, C-GWBX), deliveries.
November 2005: WestJet (WJI) expanded its Internet check-in service to include baggage drop counters at each of its 23 Canadian airports. (WJI) said >30% of its passengers have used the self-serve check-in feature this year.
WestJet (WJI) announced a 3rd-quarter profit of +C$30.3 million/$25.6 million, a +43.6% climb from year-ago net earnings of +C$21.1 million. The Canadian (LCC) saw a +30.9% increase in operating revenue to C$406.1 million and a +31.6% rise in operating income from C$42.4 million to C$55.8 million for the 3 months to September 30.
"As anticipated, in the 3rd quarter we experienced the benefits of a more rational competitive environment, which allowed us to price our product more in line with our costs," President & (CEO) Clive Beddoe said. "The ability of our airline to increase capacity (ASM) by +17%, while also increasing both our load factor (LF) and yield, is a clear indication of the market's acceptance of our product and the improving competitive environment in Canada."
Load factor rose +2 points to 78.6% LF, (RPM)s (passenger traffic) increased +20% against the +17% growth in ASMs (capacity) and passenger yield was up +8.9% to C18.3 cents.
Beddoe cited fuel costs as the principal hurdle, but reported that WestJet (WJI)'s initiative to replace remaining 737-200 airplanes with more fuel-efficient 737-600s, 737-700s and 737-800s by March 2006 is on track.
Expenses jumped +30.8% to C$350.3 million, while at the unit level (CASM) rose +11.7% from C11.1 cents to C12.4 cents. More than half of that increase was owing to higher fuel prices and the refinery damage caused by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Airplane leasing costs soared +60.5% as the carrier financed 5 737-800s and 3 737-700s delivered in the 1st half of 2005.
Year-to-date profit performance still is slightly off last year as WestJet (WJI) earned +C$23 million compared to +C$29.1 million in the 2004 period, a drop of -20.1%. Operating revenue rose +27.5% to C$1.03 billion and expenses climbed to C$974.4 million, up +33.8%.
(WJI) also announced new direct services Calgary - Fort McMurray, Vancouver - Las Vegas, Hamilton - Orlando and Winnipeg - Orlando beginning in January. It will increase capacity on several existing routes as well.
Westjet (WJI) announced numerous schedule enhancements, including new non-stop routes and increased frequencies between cities throughout North America. New nonstop service starting in January:
Calgary to Fort McMurray = 5x-weekly;
Hamilton to Orlando = 1x-weekly;
Vancouver to Las Vegas = 3x-weekly;
Winnipeg to Orlando = 1x-weekly;
Service increases starting in January:
Calgary to Palm Springs = Increases to 4x-weekly;
Calgary to Phoenix = Increases to 7x-weekly;
Toronto to Orlando = Increases to 2x-daily.
The USA and Canada reached a full "open skies" agreement "that removes all economic restrictions on air services to, from and beyond the other's territory by the airlines of both countries." The agreement was reached after 3 days of talks in Washington and builds on the liberalized accord reached in 1995 that dramatically boosted air services between the countries but "provided virtually no rights for airlines to fly beyond the other country and severely limited express cargo services," according to the USA Department of Transportation (DOT). Last year, nearly 19 million passengers flew nonstop between the countries on 372,000 flights, (DOT) said. The agreement is expected to take effect next September.
"Crown Rent Policy Madness," a headline on a statement released last week by (IATA), was emblematic of the vitriol directed toward the Canadian government and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) following (GTAA)'s proposal to increase landing fees +6.9% and terminal fees +8.9% for 2006, making Pearson International Airport the most expensive in the world, according to (IATA). (GTAA) claims it needs to raise fees owing to Canada's policy of charging airports rent on their land grants. The authority said that it pays two-thirds of the country's airport rent despite handling just one-third of the traffic and owes payback of a deferral it was given to mitigate losses caused by the 2003 (SARS) outbreak. It warned that it may have to pay Transport Canada as much as C$151.5 million/$127.1 million for ground rent in 2006, compared to the C$133 million paid in 2005.
(IATA) Director General & (CEO) Giovanni Bisignani, who has clashed with (GTAA) in the past, agreed that the rent policy "is the single largest obstacle to lowering airline fees at Pearson [and] should have died when the government recouped its airport investments." However, he also called on the authority to "do a better job of managing its costs," declaring, "We are paying a heavy price at Toronto for the excessive airport re-development that the government allowed to proceed unchecked."
The government agreed to cut future rents at Pearson -6% by 2010, compared to -63% at Vancouver, -60% at Calgary and -20% at Montreal. Additionally, it has not assumed any of the debt associated with (GTAA)'s C$4 billion redevelopment investment.
The USA Air Transport Association (ATA) suggested that USA airlines may avoid Toronto in the future owing to the high fees, serving southern Ontario "through nearby USA cities such as Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago and even New York."
Air Canada (ACN), which sued (GTAA) over its "excessive" redevelopment program, urged the government "to revisit the rationale for charging airport ground rents and to amend the governance policies for Airport Authorities to provide airlines and other users with meaningful input in airport development and operations."
2 737-275 (20588; 20670), sold to Apollo Aviation. 737-6CT (34286, C-GWSI) & 737-7CT (34157, C-GWCN), deliveries.
December 2005: (ARINC) signed a 2-year radio service contract with WestJet (WJI) providing support for (VHF), (UHF) and networked digital voice systems at 23 Canadian airports.
Westjet (WJI) inaugurated non-stop service from Vancouver to Honolulu. *WJI) now operate 5 flights a week using its 737-800.
(WJI) has converted options on 4 737NGs into firm orders. These airplanes are due for delivery in 2007. (WJI) also converted 3 purchase rights on 737NGs into firm orders (those airplanes are due for delivery in 2008).
3 737-281's (21768; 21769; 21771) sold to Apollo Aviation.
January 2006: WestJet (WJI) reported a +15% increase in December passenger traffic (RPM)s to 737.1 million versus the year-ago month and +9.8% growth in capacity to 942.2 million (ASM)s. Load factor was 78.2% LF, an increase of +3.5 points. For the year, traffic was up +26.8% to 7.96 billion (RPM)s, capacity rose +19.1% to 10.67 billion (ASM)s and load factor climbed +4.6 points to 74.6% LF.
(WJI) is investing up to $30 million to develop a reservation system and other new technology that will enable it to begin code share operations with other carriers as early as 2007, (CEO) Clive Beddoe said. "We see it as a growth opportunity for us," Beddoe said. Air Canada (ACN) "has abandoned" a large numbers of carriers because of its relationship with the Star (SAL) Alliance, he added. Several airlines, including legacy carriers and Low-Cost Carriers (LCC)s, have expressed interest in a code share partnership with (WJI). "The 1st thing for us is to get the technology," he said. "We see this as a very significant way to increase our revenues."
(WJI) announced the appointment of Matthew Handford as executive VP People replacing Fred Ring, who will become Executive VP Corporate Projects.
Separately, (WJI) will lease 2 737-700s from (ILFC) (ILF) for 8 years. Deliveries are scheduled for March and April 2007. It is (WJI)'s 1st deal with (ILF). (WJI) will take delivery of 21 737NGs through 2008.
February 2006: WestJet (WJI)'s January passenger traffic rose +20.8% over the year-ago month to 741.8 million (RPM)s. Capacity climbed +11.6% to 982.6 million (ASM)s, driving load factor to 75.5% LF, an increase of +5.7 points.
(WJI) returned to the black for the 4th quarter and full year 2005, earning +C$1 million/+$0.87 million and +C$24 million, respectively, against losses of -C$46.3 million and -C$17.2 million in the comparable 2004 periods.
"(WJI) achieved a significant turnaround during the last quarter . . . even though net income remained disappointing," President & (CEO) Clive Beddoe said during a webcast. "We remained profitable during a period when jet fuel prices escalated to unprecedented levels following one of the most violent hurricane seasons in history."
In addition to the impact on fuel prices, the severe storms hurt travel demand to Florida and Mexico. (WJI) estimated the bottom-line impact at C$11 million.
Revenue for the 4th quarter rose +34.4% to +C$367.9 million on a +19.5% gain in passenger traffic (RPM)s combined with a +12.3% jump in yield to C18.3 cents - - the highest year-over-year increase in WestJet (WJI) history. With capacity (ASM)s up just +8%, unit revenue soared +24.6% to C13.7 cents.
Operating expenses, meanwhile, grew just +6% to C$359.8 million in spite of a +30% hike in fuel expense, as 2004 results were impacted heavily by special charges related to the write-down of the 737-200 fleet. Operating profit was +C$8.1 million compared with a loss of -C$65.8 million in the 2004 quarter. Cost per (ASM) including fuel but excluding special items rose +14.5% to C13.4 cents.
Full-year revenues surged +31.9% to C$1.4 billion. (RPM)s climbed +26.8%, while yield increased +3.6% to C17.5 cents. With capacity up +19.1%, load factor rose +4.6 points, pushing (RASM) ahead +11% to C13.1 cents. Operating expenses grew +24.9% to C$1.33 billion and annual operating profit was +C$60.8 million compared to an operating loss of -C$9.9 million in 2004.
(WJI) estimated it now has a 33% share of the domestic market, up +3 points in the past year, while its share of business traffic lifted from 18% to 25%. More than half its revenue touches Toronto. On a down note, Beddoe said implementation of (WJI)'s new reservations system hit an "unforeseen" snag and completion now is unlikely before late 2006 or early 2007. (WJI) is adding 12 737NGs this year while retiring 4 737-200s, causing (ASM)s to rise +14% versus 2005.
WestJet (WJI) announced Spring schedule enhancements.
WestJet (WJI) will introduce new non-stop service between the following cities:
Calgary to Halifax; From May 1st to October 28th, daily;
Edmonton to Abbotsford; From April 23rd, daily;
Toronto to St John's; From May 1st, daily;
Toronto to Victoria; From May 12th to October 28th, daily;
Vancouver to Hamilton; From May 1st, daily.
(WJI) will increase frequency from March 21 through May 1 on:
Calgary to Hamilton; to 3 daily nonstops;
Toronto to Calgary; to 7 daily nonstops;
Toronto to Charlottetown; to 1 daily nonstop;
Toronto to Edmonton; to 4 daily nonstops;
Toronto to Halifax; to 4 daily nonstops;
Toronto to Moncton; to 2 daily nonstops;
Toronto to Thunder Bay; to 3 daily nonstops;
Toronto to Vancouver; to 5 daily nonstops;
Vancouver to Winnipeg; to 3 daily nonstops;
Vancouver to Montreal; to 2 daily nonstops.
All flights are operated with 737NGs.
(WJI)'s pilots (FC), represented by the Pro-Active Communication Team, a non-union organization affiliated with (WJI)'s nonmanagement employees, ratified a 3-year labor agreement by an overwhelming 96.3% margin. (WJI) said the contract "will allow (WJI) to maintain its low cost carrier (LCC) structure, while addressing a number of challenges put forth by" the pilots (FC).
737-6CT (34621, C-GWSJ), & 737-7CT (32772, C-GYWJ), deliveries.
March 2006: WestJet (WJI) Executive VP Finance & (CFO) Alexander Campbell will be leaving the company on June 15. He said that "now is the best time to make a change." He will assist during the transition period. He becomes the 2nd senior executive to depart in recent months. Last fall, Executive VP Operations Tim Morgan, a (WJI) co-Founder, announced his departure for personal reasons. Another co-Founder Mark Hill, stepped down in the wake of an ongoing lawsuit filed by Air Canada (ACN) alleging that Hill and other (WJI) officials illegally entered (ACN)'s reservations system to gather sensitive booking data.
(WJI) announced new service, seasonal service and service increases for the summer season as follows:
New and seasonal services:
Edmonton to Halifax; Seasonal daily service (June 24th through October 28th);
Toronto to Abbotsford; Seasonal daily service (June 13th through October 28th);
Vancouver to Ottawa; Daily service from Augus 22nd; Service increases starting June 13 to August 22;
Toronto to Calgary; Increases to 8x-daily;
Edmonton to Hamilton; Increases to 2x-daily;
Edmonton to Victoria; Increases to 3x-daily;
Edmonton to Winnipeg; Increases to 3x-daily;
Vancouver to Edmonton; Increases to 7x-daily.
737-2Q8 (23148), sold in the USA. 737-269 (21206), sold to Aeroturbine (AUB). 2 737-6CT (34287, C-GWSK; 34633, C-GWSL), deliveries.
April 2006: WestJet (WJI) reported a +15% increase in March (RPM)s passenger traffic to 831.3 million and a +9% rise in capacity to 1.01 billion (ASM). Load factor rose +4.1 points to a March-record 81.9% LF.
(WJI) reported its best-ever 1st-quarter earnings, posting net income of +C$12.9 million/+$11.4 million, a reversal of a net loss of -C$9.6 million in the year-ago quarter. "With the Canadian airline industry returning to a more rational pricing environment, we returned to 1st-quarter profitability," President & (CEO) Clive Beddoe said.
Revenue for the quarter rose +31.6% to C$387.6 million on an +18.9% gain in passenger traffic (RPM)s to 2.3 billion. (WJI) boosted capacity +10% to 2.63 billion (ASM)s. Yield grew +10.5% to 16.8 cents, (RASM) jumped +19.6% and (CASM) was up +7.8%. Operating expenses increased +18.8% to C$361.3 million as fuel, (WJI)'s largest operating expense in the quarter, surged +22.9% to C$95.5 million.
(WJI) took delivery of 4 737NGs in the quarter and will receive an additional 8 this year, bringing its total fleet to 63 737s. Beddoe said the new planes, all but 2 of which will be 737-600s, "would allow (WJI) to improve its efficiency in smaller markets due to their smaller size and lower cost of operation."
The Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) projected "increased financial performance" for the rest of 2006 and said it remains committed to growing its services to eastern Canada and the USA. It conceded that soaring fuel costs may mean a rise in its low fares but said any hikes would be implemented slowly.
Swissport International agreed to assume (WJI)'s ground operations at Toronto Pearson effective immediately. Swissport already works with (WJI) in Vancouver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Honolulu.
737-2E3 (22703), sold in USA. 737-6CT (34288, C-GBWS), delivery.
May 2006: WestJet (WJI) flew 763.8 million (RPM)s passenger traffic in April, a +30.4% increase over the year-ago month. Capacity climbed +14.4% to 973.4 million (ASM)s, lifting load factor +9.7 points to 78.5% LF.
(WJI) and Air Canada (ACN) settled their contentious dispute over alleged corporate spying and unauthorized data collection by (WJI) executives, with (WJI) agreeing to pay C$15.5 million/$14 million, C$5.5 million covering (ACN)'s legal costs in the matter and C$10 million to charity, and Chairman & (CEO) Clive Beddoe apologizing to his primary rival for "misconduct. "(ACN) sued (WJI) for C$220 million in 2004, alleging that (WJI) officials illegally entered (ACN)'s reservations system to gather critical data. In a joint statement, the airlines detailed "unethical and unacceptable" activities "undertaken with the knowledge and direction of the highest management levels of (WJI)."
The statement confirmed that in 2003 and 2004, (WJI) executives "engaged in an extensive practice of covertly accessing a password-protected proprietary employee Web site maintained by Air Canada (ACN) to download detailed and commercially sensitive information without authorization or consent from (ACN). (WJI) sincerely regrets having engaged in this practice and unreservedly apologizes to (ACN) and (ACN) Chairman, President & (CEO) Robert Milton."
(ACN) said it has withdrawn its claims against its rival and "all legal proceedings between the parties have been terminated." It alleged in court filings, that an employee who moved from (ACN) to (WJI) used his old passwords to enable (WJI) executives to access (ACN)'s employee website >240,000 times. (WJI) co-Founder & VP Strategic Planning Mark Hill resigned in July 2004 as the controversy heightened. (ACN) has maintained throughout the dispute, that Beddoe was aware of the hacking.
The two airlines are fierce competitors in Canada's domestic market, with (ACN), the flag carrier holding a 60% share and (WJI) a 30% share. (WJI), founded in 1996 and modeled after Southwest Airlines (SWA), has engaged (ACN) in heated fare wars that have forced (ACN) the larger airline to keep fares low on many high-density domestic routes and offer its own low-cost carrier (LCC) services.
June 2006: WestJet (WJI) announced increased frequencies on 5 routes taking effect between September 7th and October 29th as follows:
Calgary to Fort McMurray; Increase to 2x-daily;
Calgary to Las Vegas; Increase to 7x-weekly;
Vancouver to Honolulu; Increase to 7x-weekly;
Vancouver to Las Vegas; Increase to 2x-weekly;
Vancouver to Maui; Increase to 7x-weekly.
(WJI) is consolidating its domestic and international charter operations at Toronto Pearson on Concourse C in Terminal 3 effective June 16. (WJI) operates >300x-weekly at the airport and said it represents 86.9% of enplaned passengers in T3.
(WJI) said its Executive VP Finance & (CFO) position, vacated this week with the departure of Alexander Campbell, will be filled jointly on an interim basis by VP Controller Janice Paget (internal) and VP Finance & Corporate Services Derek Payne (external). (WJI) is continuing its search for a permanent successor.
737-6CT (1956-34289, C-GWJU), delivery.
July 2006: WestJet (wji) flew 774.5 million (RPM)s passenger traffic in June, up +26% over the year-ago month. Capacity increased +20% to 1 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +3.6 points to 77.1% LF.
WestJet (WJI) is a Canadian low-fare carrier, operating scheduled services to various destinations across North America, with international charter services and transborder services to USA destinations.
Employees = 4,778.
(IATA) Code: WS - 838. (ICAO) Code: WJA (Callsign - WESTJET).
Parent organization/shareholders: Publicly held.
Main Base: Calgary International Airport (YYC).
Domestic, Scheduled Destinations: Abbotsford; Calgary; Charlottetown; Comox; Edmonton; Fort McMurray; Grande Prairie; Halifax; Kelowna; London; Moncton; Montreal; Ottawa; Prince George; Regina; Saskatoon; St Johns; Thunder Bay; Toronto; Vancouver; Victoria; & Winnipeg.
International, scheduled destinations: Fort Lauderdale; Fort Myers; Honolulu; Kahului; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Orlando; Palm Springs; Phoenix; & Tampa.
(WJI) announced it is enhancing its winter schedule with the introduction of new nonstop transborder flights and additional daily flights from Canada to the USa starting on October 29th.
New seasonal nonstops:
Edmonton to Palm Springs, 3x-weekly;
Edmonton to Phoenix, 4x-weekly;
Montreal to Orlando, 4x-weekly;
Montreal to Tampa, 3x-weekly;
Ottawa to Orlando, 4x-weekly;
Ottawa to Tampa, 3x-weekly;
Toronto to West Palm Beach, 3x-weekly;
Increase in frequency and resumption of seasonal routes:
Calgary to Fort Lauderdale, 3x-weekly;
Calgary to Las Vegas; 7x-weekly;
Calgary to Orlando; 4x-weekly;
Calgary to Palm Springs; 7x-weekly;
Calgary to Phoenix; 7x-weekly;
Edmonton to Las Vegas; 7x-weekly;
Hamilton to Orlando; 1x-weekly;
Kelowna to Las Vegas; 2x-weekly;
Montreal to Fort Lauderdale; 7x-weekly;
Toronto to Fort Lauderdale; 7x-weekly;
Toronto to Fort Myers; 7x-weekly;
Toronto to Orlando; 14x-weekly;
Toronto to Tampa; 7x-weekly;
Vancouver to Honolulu; 7x-weekly;
Vancouver to Maui; 7x-weekly;
Vancouver to Las Vegas; 3x-weekly;
Vancouver to Palm Springs; 4x-weekly;
Winnipeg - Las Vegas; 4x-weekly;
Winnipeg to Phoenix; 3x-weekly.
Penauille Servisair signed with WestJet (WJI) to open airport lounges in Calgary, Vancouver and other cities to be announced. Lounges are open in Ottawa and Winnipeg.
(WJI) finalized an agreement with Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SIL) for 3 737-700s and 1 737-800, with deliveries scheduled for late 2007 and the 1st half of 2008. The deal also included options for 3 more 737-700s and 1 additional 737-800, which would be delivered in 2009. By the end of 2008, (WJI)'s fleet will number 76 airplanes.
737-6CT (35111, C-GWCQ), delivery.
August 2006: WestJet (WJI) flew 894.2 million (RPM)s passenger traffic in July, an increase of +17% over the year-ago month, against a nearly identical increase in (ASM)s to 1.1 billion. Load factor inched up +0.2 point to 81.5% LF.
(WJI) launched the following routes on October 29: Toronto to West Palm Beach (3x-weekly); Edmonton to Phoenix (4x-weekly), and Palm Springs (3x-weekly); Montreal to Orlando (4x-weekly) and Tampa (3x-weekly), and Ottawa to Orlando (4x-weekly) and Tampa (3x-weekly). It also will increase frequencies on 19 other transborder routes. (WJI) will operate seasonal 3x-weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays, Toronto to Nassau service November 5 to April 26.
(WJI) announced the completion of a debt financing facility for C$191.1 million/$168.9 million to support the purchase of 5 737-600s and 1 737-700. It took delivery of the 1st airplane, a 737-600, and would be taking the remaining 5 this year. The facility was arranged by (ING) capital, is supported by guarantees from the USA Export-Import Bank and includes (ING) Financial Holdings Corporation and Societe Generale as lenders. The loan will be drawn in separate installments with 12-year terms for each airplane.
WestJet (WJI) named Virgin Blue (VOZ) (CEO) Brett Godfrey to its board of directors.
3 737-6CT's (35112, C-GWCT; 35113, C-GWCY; 35570, C-GXWJ), deliveries.
September 2006: WestJet (WJI) announced the promotion of Executive VP, Sales & Marketing & Airports Sean Durfy to President, succeeding airline co-founder Clive Beddoe, 60, who will remain Chairman & (CEO) of (WJI). Durfy, 40, joined (WJI) in late 2004 from Enmax Energy Corporation, where he was President & (COO) of the Calgary power utility. "Over the past 2 years, he had progressively passed many of his duties over to the executive team as a natural progression of the growth of the company," Beddoe said. (WJI) also named 3 company insiders to the executive management team. Bob Cummings was appointed Executive VP Guest Experience & Marketing, Hugh Dunleavy was the new Executive VP Commercial Distribution, and Ken McKenzie was Executive VP Operations. (WJI) Executive VP Guest Services and Executive VP Information Technology (IT) Russ Hall resigned on September 8.
737-6CT (35571, C-GEWJ), delivery.
October 2006: Citing strict cost management and efficiencies, gained from operating an all-737NG fleet, WestJet (WJI) reported 3rd-quarter net income of +C$52.8 million/+$46.9 million, a +74.3% increase from the +C$30.3 million earned in the year-ago quarter, and the highest quarterly profit in its history.
"A significant accomplishment for this quarter was our ability to control costs," President Sean Durfy said. "(CASM), excluding fuel, was down -1.1% this quarter. This was a result of prudent cost management in all areas of the organization."
Revenues rose +23.8% to C$502.6 million, while expenses increased +17.8% to C$412.8 million, producing an operating income of C$89.8 million, a rise of +60.9% from C$55.8 million in the year-ago period.
Traffic increased +19.8% to 2.66 billion (RPM)s on a +17.4% lift in capacity to 3.31 billion (ASM)s, pushing load factor up +1.9 points to 80.5% LF. Yield rose +3.3% to C18.9 cents and (RASM) gained +5.6% to C15.2 cents. (CASM) increased +0.8% to 12.5 cents, while (CASM), excluding fuel, decreased -1.1% to C8.9 cents.
The carrier, which retired its last 737-200 in January, credited its young fleet of 13 737-600s, 45 737-700s and five 737-800s with helping to keep costs low. Average airplane utilization for the quarter was 11.8 hours per day, up from 11.1 hours in the year-ago quarter. The 10-year-old airline, once strictly no-frills, is growing revenue from items such as buy-on-board food, liquor, headsets for LiveTV satellite television, service fees and pay-per-view. Ancillary revenues rose +65% in the third quarter to C$22.1 million.
Willis Lease Finance of California (WLFC) announced the signing of an engine sharing agreement with American Airlines (AAL), Southwest Airlines (SWA) and (WJI) covering (CFM56-7B)s used to power 737NGs.
The pool initially will service >450 airplanes. "I believe engine sharing pools will ultimately change the way all engines are leased. Engines can literally be rented in a matter of minutes," (WLFC) President & (CEO) Charles Willis said. "We have worked with the management teams of these airlines for >5 years to reach agreement on the details."
Southwest (SWA) has firm orders, options or purchase rights for 317 737s over the next 6 years, while (AAL) and WestJet (WJI) will make engines available to the pool as well as lease from it. (AAL) also may lease engines for its Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) operations, Willis said, adding that the pool should improve spare engine productivity for the 3 carriers by 30% to 50%.
(WJI) announced the finalization of a short-term lease with Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SIL) for 4 737-700s and 1 737-800 for delivery in 2009. The deal includes an option for +3 737-700s and 1 737-800, plus the ability to convert 737-700s to 737-800s, and remains "subject to a number of conditions," (WJI) said. "1 of our continued strategic drivers is (ASM) growth through fleet expansion," President, Sean Durfy said. "We are confident the demand for (WJI)'s service in the domestic, transborder and international Caribbean markets will support the addition of these airplanes." (WJI) will operate 81 airplanest by the end of 2009.
November 2006: WestJet (WJI) flew 826.3 million (RPM)s passenger traffic in October, up +24% from the year-ago month. Capacity climbed +22% to 1.1 billion (ASM)s and load factor rose +1.4 points to 74.9% LF.
(WJI) will operate weekly seasonal Halifax to Tampa service March 13 to May 1, operating 1x-weekly on Tuesdays, using a 737NG.
(WJI) launched an expanded Winter Schedule with the following new nonstop routes:
Edmonton to Palm Springs, starting October 29, 3x-weekly;
Edmonton to Phoenix, starting October 30, 4x-weekly;
Halifax to Orlando, starting February 14, 1x-weekly;
Montreal to Orlando, starting October 30, 4x-weekly;
Montreal to Tampa, starting October 29, 3x-weekly;
Ottawa to Orlando, starting November 03, 4x-weekly;
Ottawa to Tampa, starting October 29, 3x-weekly;
Toronto to Nassau, starting November 05, 3x-weekly;
Toronto to West Palm Beach, starting October 30, 3x-weekly.
All flights are operated with 737NGs.
(WJI) will add frequencies from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Nassau January 8 to April 28.
Air Canada (ACN) and (WJI) responded to the Canadian government's new "Blue Sky" policy with guarded optimism this week, saying they looked forward to the opportunities that would accompany new bilateral agreements, open skies and liberalized access and pricing, but that "a level playing field" is critical to ensuring Canadian carriers can compete.
"(ACN) has been supportive of a liberalization of Canada's international aviation agreements, provided it is done on an equitable and reciprocal basis," Executive VP & (CCO) Sean Menke said. "Canadian carriers face higher costs at home, than foreign carriers in their home countries, and this puts Canada's airlines at a competitive disadvantage. We call on Canada's new government to recognize this fundamental inequality." (WJI) currently flies only within Canada, to the USA and the Caribbean, and said it "welcomes the chance to compete aggressively in the international arena, but only if we can do so equitably."
The government did say in "Blue Sky," the primary objective of which is to negotiate reciprocal "open skies" agreements, similar to the one reached with the USA last year, and the UK in April, that Canadian airlines "should have the opportunity to compete in international markets on a reasonably level playing field." It has no plans to allow cabotage. The Canadian Airports Council expressed satisfaction with the policy, but called on the government to "commit more resources to border services."
December 2006: WestJet (WJI) flew 780.4 million (RPM)s passenger traffic in November, a +29% increase from the year-ago month. Capacity rose +27% to 1.06 billion (ASM)s and load factor climbed +1.5 points to 73.4% LF.
British Airways (BAB) (CEO) Willie Walsh was in Calgary and met with (WJI) executives to hold preliminary talks on potential cooperation, "Bloomberg News" reported.
"(WJI) is a good airline," Walsh told the news service. "If there was an opportunity to do something, we'd certainly be pleased to look at that. Anything that provides connectivity is a plus."
(WJI) Chairman & (CEO) Clive Beddoe said earlier this year, that (WJI) has held discussions with the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance and as many as "60 to 70 airlines" about potential cooperation. Defunct Canadian Airlines (CDI) was a founding (ONW) member but the alliance currently has no Canadian partner. "We'd be a pretty natural fit," President Sean Durfy said.
But before any alliance or cooperation talk becomes serious, (WJI) has to migrate to the "airRES" reservation system produced by Travelport. The switch from its current system, which dates back to 1996, is expected next year. The new system "will allow us to do interlining," Durfy explained.
(WJI) believes it holds a strong hand and has said it will not compromise its efficient business model to join a partnership. "There are things in the legacy codeshare model that don't fit with us," Durfy said. Executive VP Operations Ken McKenzie said (WJI) (WJI) is seeking to align with "nimble and agile" airlines, noting that it likes to "keep things simple."
January 2007: WestJet (WJI) indefinitely postponed installation of the "aiRES" reservation system from Travelport, that was supposed to replace its "OpenSkies" system this year and allow it to interline with other carriers. (WJI) extended its support agreement with Navitaire for the OpenSkies system through the end of 2008, indicating that it could be 2009 before it converts to aiRES. (WJI) said it "does not have a new scheduled release date" for the system and will continue to work with "aiRES suppliers to develop the product for use." It has discussed cooperating with (ONW) Alliance British Airways (BAB), and other carriers, but has said a move to aiRES likely is necessary 1st.
Later, (WJI) suspended its aiRES contract, saying it hoped to negotiate new installation terms with aiRES provider, Travelport, but conceding it may have to scrap the system altogether.
The aiRES installation, in which (WJI) has invested C$38 million/$32.3 million, already had been postponed, but it could prove costly if the system never is installed. It was supposed to be deployed this year to replace an aging OpenSkies system, allowing (WJI) to interline. Executives have been pushing its virtues in talks with Oneworld (ONW), (BAB) and other carriers.
(WJI) said it has agreed to enter into discussions with Travelport to reach new terms on installing aiRES. If the companies cannot come to an agreement by May 31, they will enter into a dispute resolution process and, if that also fails, "there is the potential of a 1-time writeoff of C$30 million" to scrap the system, (WJI) said. "We have made the difficult decision to suspend this implementation, while we renegotiate the terms under which we will deploy a future release of aiRES," President Sean Durfy said.
(WJI) named Vito Culmone, Executive VP Finance & (CFO), replacing interim (CFO)s Janice Paget and Derek Payne, who took over when Sandy Campbell retired last July. Culmone, VP Commercial Finance for beer giant Molson Canada, will join (WJI) on March 1.
Starting April 2nd, Edmonton to Comox increased to 7x-weekly. Starting April 29th, new daily Edmonton to Montreal, and Vancouver to Las Vegas increased to 7x-weekly. Starting May 14th, Calgary to Halifax increased to 2x-daily; new daily, Calgary to Kitchener to Waterloo to Cambridge; Calgary to London increased to 2x-daily; Edmonton to Abbotsford increased to 3x-daily; new daily Montreal to Charlottetown; new 6x-weekly Toronto to Deer Lake, Nefoundland; Toronto to Edmonton, increased to 5x-daily; Toronto to Halifax increased to 5x-daily; new 6x-weekly Toronto to St John New Brunswick; Toronto to St John's increased to 2x-daily; Toronto to Vancouver increased to 6x-daily; & new daily Vancouver to Ottawa. Starting June 27th, new daily Calgary to St John's, New Labrador. Starting August 7th, Calgary to Comox, increased to 3x-daily. (WJI) finalized a term sheet with Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) (SIL) to lease 2 737-700s for delivery in July and August 2009.
The 2 737s are part of an earlier agreement with SALE (SIL) that offered (WJI) the ability to secure 3 737-700s and 1 737-800. (WJI) said it still may secure the other two 737s. SALE (SIL), acquired last month by the Bank of China (BOC), exercised options and purchase rights earlier this week on 20 737NGs to be delivered between 2009 and 2012.
(WJI) currently operates 63 airplanes, all 737NGs, and plans to have a fleet of 83 of the type by the end of 2009.
February 2007: WestJet (WJI) earned +C$114.7 million/+$97.8 million for 2006, widened from net earnings of +C$24 million in the prior year and the highest profit in (WJI)'s 10-year history.
4th-quarter net income was +C$26.7 million, up from +C$1 million in the year-ago quarter. "We continue to maintain one of the most favorable balance sheets in the airline industry," President Sean Durfy said. "Our corporate health is vibrant with significant advances in our guest loyalty and brand health metrics. We increased our presence, profile and revenue in eastern Canada and among business (C) travelers."
Full-year operating revenue increased +27.3% to C$1.77 billion, while expenses rose +18% to C$1.57 billion, producing an operating income of +C$199.5 million, more than 3x the income of +C$60.8 million in 2005. Traffic surged +23% to 9.79 billion (RPM)s on a +17.3% hike in capacity to 12.52 billion (ASM)s, leading to a load factor of 78.2% LF, up +3.6 points. "Our 2006 growth came from 12 consecutive months of adding seats into the market," Durfy noted. "Our ability to match this capacity with the market's demands contributed largely to our profitable results."
Yield grew +3.4% to C18.1 cents as (RASM) increased +9.2% to C14.2 cents and (CASM) lifted +0.8% to C12.6 cents. "With such an encouraging year behind us, we will leverage this success for continued growth and profitability," Durfy said.
737-7CT (30712, C-GIWJ), (ILF) leased.
March 2007: Canada's airports and government, already under fire for high fees, were forced to defend against charges from a senior Canadian legislator that airport security is lax and little more than a "Oublic Relations (PR) show." Senate National Security & Defense Committee Chairman Colin Kenny (Liberal, Ontario) said "gaping holes" pointed out in a 2003 report "are still gaping holes, > 4 years later" and leave major Canadian airports vulnerable. In a new report issued recently, the committee charged that the airports "are riddled with organized crime" and accused Transport Canada, which has responsibility for security oversight, of "blatant stupidity" for searching <2% of personnel entering restricted areas. "Transport Canada should get out of the security field and focus on areas in which it has competence," Kenny said. Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon called Kenny's remarks "misleading" and "inappropriate coming from a senator." Canadian Airports Council President & (CEO) Jim Facette said Kenny had taken "a simplistic look at aviation security" that failed to appreciate "the combined layers of security" that put Canadian airports "at the forefront of the world in safety and security."
(IATA) (IAT) and the Air Transport Association have complained that the government and airports impose taxes and fees on airlines that are too high, particularly a passenger security charge that is tacked onto flight tickets. (IATA) Director General & (CEO) Giovanni Bisignani said the charge yielded C$1.25 billion/$1.08 billion in 2002 to 2005, but complained that the government invested just C$820 million in aviation security during that period. "The Canadian government must stop looking at aviation security as a profit center," he said during a speech earlier this month in Vancouver.
(WJI) finalized a term sheet with Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) (SIL) for 1 737-700 and 1 737-800, both to be delivered in 2009. (WJI) plans to operate a fleet of 85 737NGs by the end of 2009, and has said it will operate 92 to 95 of the type by 2011.
737-7CT (30713, C-FTWJ), (ILF) leased.
April 2007: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.02 billion (RPM)s passenger traffic in March, a +23% increase from the year-ago month. Capacity rose +18% to 1.2 billion (ASM)s and load factor was up +3.3 points to 85.2% LF.
Started Vancouver to Las Vegas, and Edmonton to Montreal.
(WJI) pushed back its negotiating deadline with Travelport by 2 months to July 31, to agree to new contract terms on the delayed installation of the aiRES system that (WJI) had planned to use to facilitate interlining with other airlines. (WJI) said that it has "made progress" with Travelport as it "works toward an amended contract."
May 2007: WestJet (WJI) flew 936.5 million (RPM)s passenger traffic in April, up +23% on the year-ago month. Capacity climbed +16% to 1.13 billion (ASM)s and load factor rose +4.3 points to 82.8% LF.
Swelling ancillary revenue and effective seasonal capacity deployment were among the reasons cited by (WJI) for a booming 1st quarter, during which (WJI) posted net earnings of +C$29.9 million/+$26.8 million, >2 the +C$12.9 earned in the 1st 3 months of 2006. "Our 1st-quarter results reflect (WJI)'s ability to deliver 3 key elements crucial for success (more guests are flying with us, revenue is increasing and costs have been controlled)," President Sean Durfy said. "Our seasonal capacity deployment strategy hit stride, putting us in a unique position within the North American airline industry to deploy a portion of our winter capacity to southern sun spots and then return this inventory to Canada in the peak summer months." 1st-quarter turnover climbed +23.9% to C$479.2 million, driven by a +23.7% rise in passenger revenue to C$390.7 million and a +66% increase in ancillary revenue to C$22.7 million. Costs rose +18.1% to C$425.8 million and operating profit doubled to +C$53.4 million from +C$26.3 million.
(WJI) ended the quarter with 65 737NGs, +10 more than at the same point 1 year ago, and flew 2.8 billion (RPM)s passenger traffic during the period, a year-over-year increase of +21.6%. Capacity was up +19.1% to 3.45 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +1.7 points to 81.1% LF. (WJI) said it broke load factor records in each of the quarter's 3 months. Yield climbed +1.9% to C$0.17, unit revenue rose +4.2% to C$0.139 and (CASM) was down -0.8% to C$0.123 but remained flat at C$0.091, excluding fuel.
(WJI) said its full-year outlook is "favorable," and it plans a +16% (ASM) year-over-year capacity increase in the current quarter, with +17% more domestic capacity than in the 1st quarter as airplanes return from winter holiday routes. "We expect some pressure to be placed on our yield in our 2nd quarter comparable to what we experienced during the same time last year," it said.
Starts Calgary - Kitchener - Waterloo - Cambridge; Montreal - Charlottetown; Toronto - Deer Lake NL, - St John New Brunswick; Vancouver - Ottawa. Starting November 4th, Vancouver - Honolulu, - Kahului, - Palm Springs.
(WJI) will increase service from Vancouver to Honolulu (to 11x-weekly from 7) and Maui (to 10x-weekly from 7) from December 15.
June 2007: WestJet (WJI) flew 945.6 million (RPM)s passenger traffic in May, a +20% increase from the year-ago month. A +15% rise in (ASM)s to 1.18 billion, lifted load factor +3.1 points to 80% LF.
WestJet (WJI) announced that Executive VP Culture and co-Founder, Don Bell will retire effective July 2. Bell has been Chairman of the Air Transport Assn of Canada since November 2005.
WestJet (WJI), which launched its first scheduled Caribbean service with Toronto (YYZ) - Nassau flights last November, announced additional international operations, with new seasonal flights planned from (YYZ) to Montego Bay, Puerto Plata and Punta Cana. The destinations are part of an expanded schedule that includes increased winter service to Hawaii and the launch of a number of routes, including daily (YYZ) - Los Angeles service from December 15. The carrier also won route authority from the Canadian government to operate to Mexican destinations San Jose del Cabo, Mazatlan, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo and Manzanillo. It called the rights a "tremendous opportunity," but has not decided when to launch services.
Thrice-weekly seasonal flights from (YYZ) to Montego Bay will start December 10, twice-weekly to Puerto Plata December 11, and twice-weekly to Punta Cana December 13. Additionally, the Canadian (LCC) will launch twice-weekly seasonal Calgary - Nassau service from November 5, and once-weekly Halifax - Nassau flights from February 15. New year-round services include daily Calgary - Halifax from November 5, daily Calgary - Kitchener - Waterloo - Cambridge, and daily Ottawa - Vancouver from November 4, and thrice-weekly (YYZ) - St John from November 5. Twice-weekly seasonal Halifax - Fort Lauderdale flights will launch February 16.
WestJet (WJI) became the first airline in North America to introduce "paperless" boarding by allowing passengers to present an e-mailed "boarding pass" displayed on a mobile device.
July 2007: WestJet (WJI) flew 940.3 million (RPM)s passenger traffic in June, up +21% from the year-ago month. Capacity climbed +17% to 1.18 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +2.8 points to 79.9% LF.
WestJet (WJI) Chairman & CEO, Clive Beddoe, the charismatic founder of the Calgary-based Low Cost Carrier (LCC), will relinquish the CEO role to President, Sean Durfy on September 4. "I will continue to play a key role within WestJet (WJI) as the company's Executive Chairman, by establishing and supporting the strategic direction of the company," Beddoe said. He stepped away from the President's role in September 2006, yielding to Durfy, who joined WestJet (WJI) in 2004 following a stint as President & COO of Calgary power utility Enmax Energy Corp. "Part of my duty is to build a viable succession plan," Beddoe said last fall, when he said he would remain the airline's "guiding light," adding, "my footprint will be felt around here if things are not going as I think they should." Yesterday he said he has "progressively been fulfilling" a role more akin to Chairman and has "handed more responsibility" to Durfy and other senior executives in recent months.
Beddoe is viewed as a visionary who brought the low-cost model to Canada. WestJet (WJI), founded in 1996 and originally focused on western Canadian short-haul flights, now is a national carrier and Air Canada (ACN)'s primary rival with about 35% of the domestic market and a growing presence on transborder services. Beddoe admitted to "unethical and unacceptable" activities in a settlement with (ACN) last year over a data-snooping scandal in which WestJet (WJI) executives covertly accessed a password-protected (ACN) website to download commercially sensitive information. He said that the controversy was "a storm in a teacup."
$189 million +2 orders (2/11) 737-700s and +1 order (2/11) 737-800.
737-7CT (35503, C-GGWJ), and 737-8CT (25502, C-FAWJ), deliveries
August 2007: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.05 billion (RPM)s passenger traffic in July, up +17% on the year-ago month. Capacity grew +16% to 1.27 billion (ASK)s, and load factor rose +1.1 points to 82.6% LF.
WestJet (WJI), which this summer won authority to operate to four Mexican destinations, announced scheduled seasonal service to two, San Jose del Cabo and Mazatlan, from three Canadian cities starting in December. From its Calgary base, the Low Cost Carrier (LCC) will operate twice-weekly to San Jose del Cabo from December 20, and weekly to Mazatlan from December 22. It will launch weekly flights from Edmonton to both destinations on December 21 to 22, and from Vancouver to San Jose del Cabo on December 21. It also will fly to the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Jamaica during the winter season. Hawaii service will expand as well, with a twice-weekly Vancouver - Kona flight, starting January 13. Weekly winter Canada - Hawaii frequencies will increase to 21 from 14.
INCDT: The USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it has launched an investigation into last week's high-profile runway incursion at Los Angeles International (LAX). The board (NTSB) provided further details on the incident, reporting that a landing WestJet (WJI) 737NG, and a Northwest Airlines (NWA) A320 taking off "almost collided." The 737 "held between . . . parallel runways [after landing] as directed by the Air Traffic Control [ATC] tower." But "without authorization" the WestJet (WJI) pilots (FC) contacted ground control on a different radio frequency and a ground controller "assumed that they had been cleared to cross Runway 24L, and provided instructions for the WestJet (WJI) flight to taxi to its gate," according to (NTSB). "However, the tower controller expected the WestJet (WJI) flight to hold, and cleared the Northwest (NWA) flight to take off from Runway 24L . . . The WestJet (WJI) airplane crossed the hold short line for Runway 24L and the two airplanes came within 37 feet as the Northwest (NWA) flight crossed directly in front [of the 737] during its takeoff roll."
September 2007: WestJet (WJI) President & CEO, Sean Durfy said that based on the Low Cost Carrier (LCC)'s current growth strategy, it could control as much as half of the domestic Canadian market by 2013.
The carrier currently holds about a 35% share compared to Air Canada (ACN)'s 65%. Durfy said that with 50 737NGs set to be added that will bring its total fleet to 118 by 2013, in addition to market share gains of 2 to 3 percentage points annually, WestJet (WJI) expects a share in the range of 40% to 50% within five years. In addition, it hopes to double its share of the transborder market by 2013 to 15% by expanding to USA business destinations. It also plans to boost its share of the Canada-to-Mexico/Caribbean market from 1% currently to 10% to 20% over the next five years. "This is a sustainable growth plan. We're starting to see economies of scale as we get bigger" Durfy said. The Calgary-based airline, which now operates 63 daily flights from Toronto, is even eyeing Air Canada (ACN) strongholds: Montreal and Quebec City for future expansion. It currently has no presence in Quebec City, and a limited one in Montreal. "That is Air Canada (ACN)'s home base," Durfy said. "In order to compete, we need to develop a French product." He estimated that WestJet (WJI) would need 450 French-speaking flight attendants (CA) to operate daily service successfully between Quebec City and Toronto, and offer a fuller schedule to Montreal. "We're working on it," he said, noting that the carrier now has about 380 French-speaking flight attendants (CA).
737-7CT (35504, C-GWJG), delivery.
October 2007: WestJet (WJI) flew 963.4 million (RPM)s passenger traffic in September, up +18% on the year-ago month. Capacity rose +13% to 1.22 billion (ASM)s, and load factor increased +3.5 points to 78.7% LF.
November 2007: WestJet (WJI)'s third-quarter net income surged to +C$76.1 million/+$81.9 million, up +44% over +C$52.8 million in the year-ago period and its best-ever third-quarter result, as it continued to ramp up capacity. President & CEO, Sean Durfy said the carrier achieved "the trifecta - - load factor, yield and capacity are all increasing." The Calgary-based Low Cost Carrier (LCC) will have a fleet comprising 70 737NGs by year end, and plans to take delivery of 47 more of the type in 2008 through 2013. It is growing its presence steadily in eastern Canada, the USA, the Caribbean and Mexico as it pursues its "seasonal strategy" of shifting sizable capacity from the Canadian market to "sun spots" in the winter and vice versa in the summer. Durfy said Quebec City and Montreal, where WestJet (WJI) now has only a limited presence, present "substantial opportunity" for growth and that "more business routes into the USA" will be added in the next 1 to 2 years. "Our outlook for the next several years is healthy," he said. "The key for us is costs. We've got to continue to keep costs down as we grow." He noted that the fast-rising value of Canadian currency is working in the carrier's favor, particularly on transborder routes and on airplane lease payments made at USA dollar rates. "The value of the Canadian dollar is helping to offset rising fuel prices," CFO, Vito Culmone added. The Canadian dollar is now worth $1.08, a +25.6% increase over $0.86 as of January 1.
Third-quarter revenue grew +22.3% to C$614.1 million, while expenses increased +13.9% to C$479.9 million, producing operating income of +C$144.2 million, a +60.6% boost over +C$89.8 million last year. Traffic lifted +18.3% to 3.15 billion (RPM)s on a +14.4% rise in capacity to 3.79 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 83.2% LF, up +2.7 points. Durfy cautioned that if load factor rises to 88% LF, "you could potentially run into operational issues . . . we're right in the sweet spot right now." He said capacity increases from 2008 to 2013 will be split roughly 50/50 between domestic growth and adding transborder/international services.
Yield improved +1.1% to C18.2 cents as (RASM) rose +4.2% to C14.9 cents and (CASM) dropped -0.9% to C12.5 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel, lowered -0.8% to C8.93 cents. "Overall, we want to hold (CASM) to flat or declining next year," Durfy said. Added Culmone: "Fuel pricing issues notwithstanding, we have momentum and believe it will carry into next year."
WestJet (WJI) confirmed that it is in discussions with Air France (AFA) regarding an expansive interline agreement, that it hopes to launch "at some point in 2008." Calgary-based, WestJet (WJI) has signalled that agreements with international partners are a key part of its future development. VP Communications, Richard Bartrem revealed that the carrier already has engaged in limited interlining this year with China Airlines (CHI), a deal that it has not promoted significantly, but one that he said is serving as a proving ground to determine whether (WJI) is capable of partnering with others. He said the interlining with (CHI) "bodes well" for future agreements with other airlines, and has left (WJI) "extremely confident" that it can participate in interlining accords. Bartrem cautioned that talks with (AFA) are still at an "initial stage," and that the agreement likely would "not go so far as codesharing." But it likely would include reciprocal acceptance of e-tickets, allowing (AFA) passengers to connect to destinations in Canada on WestJet (WJI) domestic flights, and (WJI) passengers to connect to (AFA) flights from Canada to international destinations. He added that (WJI)'s reservation system "absolutely" would be able to handle a cooperative agreement with (AFA), despite the fact that (WJI) scrapped installation of the aiRES system earlier this year.
737-7CTs (35078, C-GWJE), BOC Aviation (SIL) leased, and (35505, C-GQWI), deliveries.
December 2007: WestJet (WJI) flew 923.5 million (RPM)s passenger traffic in November, a +18.3% increase from the year-ago month. Capacity climbed +14.8% to 1.2 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +2.2 points to 75.6% LF.
January 2008: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.05 billion (RPM)s passenger traffic in December, a +17.1% increase over the year-ago month. Capacity climbed +15.2% to 1.32 billion (ASM)s, and load factor was up +1.3 points to 79.3% LF.
2007 statistics: 18.89 billion (RPK)s passenger traffic +19.9%; +16.1% capacity (ASK)s; +2.5 load factor for 80.7% LF. SEE ATTACHED COMPARISON CHART TO SELECTED OPERATORS - "WJI-2007-STATS."
(WJI) will start daily Toronto - Quebec City service on May 18 as part of a summer schedule, that also will include new daily seasonal flights from Toronto to Regina, Saskatoon, and Abbotsford, as well as service from Ottawa to Edmonton and Halifax. Frequencies will be increased on nine current routes including seven from Toronto.
WestJet (WJI) will start seasonal services from Hamilton to Nassau (weekly), Fort Lauderdale (twice-weekly), and Orlando International (twice-weekly), on February 15, and to Tampa on February 18.
2 737-7CTs (34621, C-GVWJ; 34622, C-GUWJ), deliveries.
February 2008: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.03 billion (RPM)s passenger traffic in January, up +16.2% from the year-ago month. Capacity rose +15.7% to 1.36 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +0.3 point to 76.2% LF.
WestJet (WJI) demonstrated its ability to manage costs and capacity in both the final quarter of 2007 and the full year, reporting record net earnings in both periods. Its full-year profit of +C$192.8 million/+$192.7 million represented a +68.2% improvement over the +C$114.7 million reported in 2006. Fourth-quarter net earnings of +C$75.4 million were nearly triple the +C$26.7 million earned in the year-ago period, though they were boosted by a +$33.7 million gain related to a reduction in Canada's corporate tax rate. Still, the result was a "strong end to a great year for our airline," President & CEO, Sean Durfy said, adding that 2007 concluded with 12 consecutive months of record loads and increases in market share, both domestically and on routes to the USA Mexico, and the Caribbean. "We once again demonstrated our ability to effectively manage our growth and match our capacity increases with market demands. We increased capacity and load factor while at the same time improving yield," he said.
Full-year revenue rose +21.9% year-over-year to C$2.15 billion, against a +18.2% increase in costs to C$1.85 billion. Operating profit climbed +50.5% to +C$300.2 million from +C$199.5 million.
(WJI) added seven airplanes in 2007, bringing its fleet to 70 on December 31. It flew 11.74 billion (RPM)s passenger traffic during the year, up +19.9%, against a +16.1% lift in capacity to 14.54 billion (ASM)s. Load factor rose +2.5 points to 80.7% LF. Yield was ahead +1.7% to C18.33 cents, and unit revenue climbed +5% to C14.79 cents. It claimed a +0.1% rise in (CASM) to C12.51 cents (and a -0.5% reduction in (CASM) excluding fuel, to C9.05 cents), but did not factor in the C$31.9 million second-quarter writedown related to its decision not to implement Travelport's aiRES system.
Fourth-quarter revenue rose +22.4% to C$553.4 million, and operating profit soared +63.7% to +C$73.4 million.
WestJet (WJI) plans to add five 737-700s and two 737-800s this year and increase capacity +16% year-over-year. "We are confident this will be absorbed through our successful capacity deployment strategy," (WJI) said.
737-8CT (35080, C-GWWJ), BOC Aviation (SIL) leased.
March 2008: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.06 billion (RPM)s passenger traffic in February, up +19% on the year-ago month, against a +18.2% increase in capacity to 1.28 billion (ASM)s. Load factor rose +0.5 point to 82.8% LF.
Air Canada (ACN) and WestJet (WJI) said the Canadian airline market has been insulated from the USA economic slowdown, that drove Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL) to announce domestic capacity cuts. "I've been waiting for the Canadian economy and the Canadian traffic to slow down," (ACN) President & CEO, Montie Brewer said at a Toronto conference. Domestic demand is "still at a very healthy rate relative to the USA guys," he said. "Thus far, we've not seen any dramatic change in our booking levels" despite fare increases. "It's not doom and gloom," (WJI) President & CEO, Sean Durfy said. "We're very fortunate that we have a duopoly in Canada and we have rational players in the marketplace." The USA market is "more insular," he said. But he warned that Canada's airlines may be unable to escape the effects of high fuel costs, if the per-barrel crude oil price remains above >$100 for a prolonged period. Fuel is "expensive and it's going to be an issue, no doubt about it," he warned.
WestJet (WJI) will launch daily, Calgary - Newark on June 2.
April 2008: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.24 billion (RPM)s passenger traffic in March, a +21.7% increase over the year-ago month. Capacity climbed +19.6% to 1.43 billion (ASM)s, and load factor was up +1.4 points to 86.6% LF.
WestJet (WJI) reported first-quarter net income of +C$52.5 million/+$53.1 million, up +75.9% over the +C$29.9 million earned in the year-ago quarter, on a +27.3% boost in revenue to $599.3 million.
President & CEO, Sean Durfy credited (WJI)'s strategy of shifting a portion of its domestic capacity to expand its "sun destination" services during the winter for the period's strong result. He also pointed to the Canadian economy, which has been surprisingly resilient given slowness in the USA, and the strength of Canadian currency as contributing factors.
Third-quarter expenses increased +26% to C$516.8 million, including a +52.2% jump in fuel costs to C$167.7 million. Operating income lifted +36.5% to +C$82.6 million from +C$60.5 million in the prior year. Traffic rose +19.1% to 3.33 billion (RPM)s on a +17.9% increase in capacity to 4.07 billon (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 81.9% LF, up +0.8 point. Yield grew +6.9% to C17.99 cents, as (RASM) improved +8% to C14.74 cents, and (CASM) increased +6.9% to C12.71 cents. (CASM) excluding fuel, lowered -1.3% to C8.58 cents.
"Fuel prices will continue to be one of the airline industry's greatest concerns," Durfy said. "Our low-cost structure, fuel-efficient fleet, and the strength of the Canadian dollar throughout the first quarter, improved our ability to cope with rising fuel prices." Capacity growth has diluted WestJet (WJI)'s cost base, he explained, and in contrast to USA counterparts, it will continue to ramp up (ASM)s, which will rise +20% in the second quarter.
The airline will take delivery of two 737NGs in the current quarter, bringing its fleet to 75 of the type. It plans to launch service to Quebec City in May, and Newark in June.
737-7CT (35084, C-GWJK), BOC Aviation (SIL) leased.
May 2008: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.13 billion (RPM)s passenger traffic in April, up +20.5% on the year-ago month, against a +21.1% increase in capacity to 1.37 billion (ASM)s. Load factor dipped -0.3 point to 82.5% LF.
Cascade Aerospace signed a three-year deal with WestJet (WJI) for heavy maintenance on its 737NGs. Cascade expects to complete 32 heavy checks by the end of 2010.
737-7CT (35086, C-FCWJ), BOC Aviation (SIL) leased.
June 2008: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.13 billion (RPM)s traffic in May, a +19.3% year-over-year increase, against a +20.1% lift in capacity to 1.42 billion (ASM)s. Load factor slipped -0.5 point to 79.5% LF.
WestJet (WJI) launched daily, Toronto - Quebec City.
July 2008: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.12 billion (RPM)s traffic in June, up +17.9% from the year-ago month. Capacity rose +23.1% to 1.45 billion (ASM)s and load factor fell -3.4 points to 76.5% LF.
(WJI) will start twice-weekly, winter service, Regina - Las Vegas.
Southwest Airlines (SWA) and WestJet (WJI) agreed to form a "codeshare partnership" by late 2009, that would link the networks of the two Low Cost Carriers (LCC)s and allow passengers flying on USA domestic-only (SWA) to connect to Calgary-based (WJI)'s network throughout Canada. No routes or schedules were unveiled, but the airlines said the partnership will be extensive, and allow for seamless connections of passengers and baggage and reciprocal ticket booking. Both operate all-737 fleets and are characterized by highly motivated workforces, winning internal cultures and strong reputations for customer service. "A company's dedication to culture and customer service are very high on our priority list, when considering a relationship of any kind," (SWA) Chairman & CEO, Gary Kelly said. "We are confident that we've found a perfect fit in WestJet (WJI)." He added that the deal would allow (SWA) "to enter the international market."
(WJI) President & CEO, Sean Durfy said, "This is a defining moment . . . When you examine our network in Canada and Southwest (SWA)'s network in the USA, and the potential to significantly improve both organizations' market access, this is indeed a great day."
(WJI), founded in 1996, serves 49 destinations with 75 737NGs and plans to grow its fleet to 121 by 2013. It operates transborder service to 10 destinations in the continental USA, as well as Hawaii. At the height of its winter schedule, it flies to seven Caribbean airports and two in Mexico. (SWA) serves 64 USA cities with a fleet of 537 737s. Despite the USA downturn, it continues to grow its network using a "schedule optimization model." It previously codeshared with defunct ATA Airlines (AAT) in order to give passengers access to Hawaii.
(SWA) and (WJI) said they plan to introduce a distribution plan later this year with the aim of launching the codeshare agreement, which is subject to USA and Canadian government approval, by the end of next year. A (WJI) spokesperson conceded that the carrier's reservation system is "not sufficient" to handle the anticipated codesharing, adding, "Both Southwest (SWA) and WestJet (WJI) have a number of enhancements to be implemented to deliver the full set of business capabilities we require, and this is why we have given ourselves the time to deliver this capability." (WJI) abandoned installation of the "airRES" reservation system, which was intended to offer more complete codeshare and interline capabilities, last year.
(WJI) founder, Clive Beddoe has noted that he studied (SWA) closely. A key player in WestJet (WJI)'s launch, was JetBlue (JBL) founder, David Neeleman, who also co-founded Morris Air and briefly served as an (SWA) executive following the Dallas-based airline's purchase of Morris in December 1993. Neeleman signed a five-year noncompete agreement upon leaving (SWA) in 1994, which led him to Canada to help start (WJI).
August 2008: WestJet (WJI) reported second-quarter net income of +C$30.2 million/+$29.5 million, up +161.4% from a +C$11.5 million profit in the year-ago period, on a +23.6% lift in revenue to C$616 million. (WJI) conceded that last year's quarterly results were affected by one-time costs associated with scrapping installation of the aiRES reservation system; excluding those charges, second-quarter 2007 income was +C$33.7 million. This year's result represented a +10.4% earnings decrease, excluding special charges. Nevertheless, President & CEO, Sean Durfy said he was "very pleased" with earnings "that will be among the best in North America." While (WJI) is "not immune to the impacts of unprecedented and unrelenting oil prices and . . . softening demand," it expects that seasonal capacity adjustments and measured growth, along with its low nonfuel operating costs, will enable it to "continue to grow profitably and gain further market share domestically, transborder and internationally." It plans to grow capacity +18% in the third quarter and +10% in the fourth quarter. It is taking delivery of two 737NGs in the second half of 2008 to bring its fleet to 77 of the type by year end.
Second-quarter traffic rose +19.3% to 3.37 billion (RPM)s on a +21.4% lift in capacity to 4.23 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 79.5% LF, down -1.4 points. Yield increased +3.7% to C18.3 cents, as (RASM) rose +1.9% to C14.6 cents, and (CASM) heightened +7.3% to C13.2 cents. (CASM) excluding fuel and employee profit-sharing, lowered -6.8% to C8.13 cents.
First-half 2008 net income doubled to +C$82.7 million from +C$41.4 million last year, on a +25.4% lift in revenue to C$1.22 billion.
(WJI) is still going strong as unit revenues rise, despite robust growth. The Canadian economy is still strong relative to the USA.
In winter (WJI) will open routes to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, with services from Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Halifax. Other winter routes include London, Ontario - Orlando; Ottawa - Nassau; and Edmonton - Los Angeles. It decided not to start Abbotsford - Las Vegas.
Mercator said that WestJet (WJI) signed up for its RAPID Bureau Interline Solution hosted in Dubai, becoming the third North American customer for the interline revenue accounting solution.
September 2008: WestJet (WJI) removed fuel surcharges from its flight tickets, citing the "recent decline in fuel prices."
WestJet (WJI) began twice-weekly flights from Saskatoon and Regina and thrice-weekly flights from Victoria to Las Vegas. The Canadian dollar, though down a bit from recent highs, is still strong, and that means cheaper vacations to the USA.
WestJet (WJI) signed up to use Guest-Logix inflight retail technology. The handheld devices used by flight attendants (CA) to collect money from passengers, accept both cash and credit cards, as well as coupons, vouchers and other forms of payment. One of the big advantages of such technology is its ability to keep an accurate accounting trail of all sales.
November 2008: WestJet (WJI) reported third-quarter net income of +C$54.7 million/+$46 million, down -28.1% from +C$76.1 million last year, saying it was hurt by high fuel costs and "the beginning of a more challenging environment for demand." Nevertheless, President & CEO, Sean Durfy touted the Calgary-based carrier's continued capacity expansion, which included +20.1% growth in the third quarter, as "purposeful and profitable" at a time when many airlines are reducing capacity and losing money. The capacity increase "was a successful investment in our efforts to gain market share and will continue to bear fruit in the future . . . We have 36% of the domestic market and are well on our way to achieving our goal of 40% to 50% by 2013."
Third-quarter revenue rose +18.5% to C$718.4 million, while expenses jumped +30.1% to C$621.9 million, producing operating income of +C$96.5 million, down -24.8% from C$128.3 million last year. Traffic lifted +17.6% to 3.71 billion (RPM)s on the +20.1% boost in capacity to 4.55 billion (ASM)s, pushing load factor down -1.8 points to 81.4% LF. Yield heightened +0.8% to C19.39 cents, as (RASM) dropped -1.4% to C15.78 cents, and (CASM) increased +8.3% to C13.66 cents. (CASM) excluding fuel and employee profit sharing, lowered -4.7% to C8.04 cents.
Having already sealed a code share deal with (WJI) giving it access to Canada, Southwest Airlines (SWA) announced a partnership with Mexico's Toluca-based, Volaris (VLS) that will give (SWA) a foothold in Mexico for the first time. (SWA) CEO, Gary Kelly said in July that he was looking to expand on the carrier's deal with (WJI) and offer passengers access to Mexico and the Caribbean. (SWA) said it and Volaris (VLS) will offer "a seamless travel experience to a wide array of destinations," with codeshare flight schedules and "additional features" scheduled to be announced by early 2010. By next spring, (SWA)'s website will become a distribution channel for Volaris (VLS) tickets. Loyalty programs, ground handling and cargo are areas of potential cooperation, it said.
"We are continuing to look for ways to expand our network through international code share partnerships, and we are excited to team up with (VLS) to offer our customers access to attractive Mexican destinations," Kelly said.
Launched in early 2006, (VLS) flies 18 A319s and one A320 on 39 routes to 23 Mexican destinations. It has 13 more A320s on order. CEO, Enrique Beltranena called (SWA) the "best possible partner." (SWA) serves 64 airports. (SWA) Senior Director Planning & Distribution, Richard Sweet wrote on the carrier's website that (VLS) plans on flying to the USA next year, and that despite being an "unknown brand in the USA" and a "relatively small and certainly new" airline, it has "proven [to be] a successful and viable airline and [is] developing a new generation of flyers in Mexico."
December 2008: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.06 billion (RPM)s traffic in November, up +14.4% year-over-year, against a +13.5% increase in capacity to 1.39 billion (ASM)s. Load factor rose +0.5 point to 76.1% LF.
Southwest Airlines (SWA) added a link to (WJI)'s booking portal to southwest.com, which (SWA) called "an important first step forward in the relationship" between the (LCC)s that will include the announcement of code share flight schedules by late next year.
SWA) said that it submitted an application to the USA Department of Transportation for Canadian route authority, which is required in order to implement its code share agreement with WestJet (WJI). (SWA) said it hoped to receive approval next quarter and that it had no intention to fly to Canada with its own airplanes "at this time."
(WJI) announced the launch of the following seasonal routes: On May 3, daily, Regina - Vancouver (YVR); daily, Toronto (YYZ) - Fort McMurray; daily, (YVR) - Fort McMurray;, daily, Edmonton - Yellowknife; thrice-weekly, (YYZ) - Sydney, Nova Scotia; and daily, (YVR) - Saskatoon; on May 11, daily flights to London, Ontario, from Halifax and (YVR); thrice-weekly, service from Calgary to San Diego (June 1) and San Francisco (June 2).
(WJI) began offering passengers a "blanket and pillow kit" for C$7/$5.64. Passengers may keep the pillow and fleece blanket or continue to use (WJI)'s reusable blankets for free during flights.
January 2009: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.18 billion (RPM)s traffic in December, up +12.8% from the year-ago month. Capacity rose +10.6% to 1.46 billion (ASM)s capacity, lifting load factor +1.6 points to 80.9% LF.
Air Canada (ACN), Jazz Air, WestJet (WJI) and Air Transat AIJ) announced formation of the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC), a new trade association "focused on promoting public policy and legislation favorable to the global success of the Canadian commercial airline industry." (WJI) President & CEO, Sean Durfy will be the (NACC) board's first Chairman. The airlines left the Air Transport Association of Canada last year.
Nav Canada introduced ADS-B coverage over the Hudson Bay, eliminating "an 850,000-sq.-km. gap in Canada's radar coverage," the air navigation services provider said. The first use of ADS-B involved an Air New Zealand (ANZ) January 15 flight from London Heathrow to Los Angeles. Sensis Corporation is supplying Nav Canada with ground equipment consisting of an antenna, a receiver and a target processor installed at stations along the Hudson shoreline. To use ADS-B airspace, airplanes require the proper avionics and operators must have Transport Canada approval before Nav Canada can accept their downlinked ADS-B data. "ADS-B promises more efficient use of Hudson Bay airspace for some 35,000 flights a year, with significant savings in fuel costs, flight times and greenhouse-gas emissions," Nav Canada said.
(WJI) has chosen SabreSonic Customer Sales and Service as its new reservations system, bringing an end to a search that began with its 2003 decision to replace Navitaire's Open Skies and included a two-year detour with aiRES. (WJI)'s Executive VP Commercial Distribution, Hugh Dunleavy said SabreSonic's scalability - - "We've been growing very quickly" - - and its bidirectional marketing and operational capabilities for code share agreements were among the features that sealed the deal. (WJI) and Southwest Airlines (SWA) want to implement their code share by year end. Dunleavy said a timeline for the transition to SabreSonic is not yet nailed down but "we're hoping to go live in the fourth quarter."
A longtime user of Navitaire's OpenSkies, (WJI) wanted a new system that could accommodate its transition from a domestic low-cost carrier to a "hybrid" airline that could work well with Global Distribution Systems (GDS)s, form code share relationships and fly internationally. It was slated to be the launch customer for aiRES, an open-architecture reservations system developed by IBS Software Services, but it gave up on the project in mid-2007 after spending around $35 million. Sabre is confident it can meet (WJI)'s needs. "We understand the revenue management and inventory world quite well," SaberSonic Senior VP, Jim Barlow said. "We are building it out to do a lot of things that are particularly attractive to low-cost carriers evolving into hybrids." The new SabreSonic CSS, unveiled in September, is more of a "build-out than a rewrite," he said. "It's a safer, less risky option."
2 orders (2/09) 737-800s, (ILF) 8 year leased.
February 2009: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.14 billion (RPM)s traffic in January, a +10.3% increase from the year-ago month. Capacity rose +9.4% to 1.49 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +0.6 point to 76.8% LF.
(WJI) announced fourth quarter and year-end financial results for 2008. (WJI) reported fourth quarter net earnings of +$40.8 million, or 32 cents per diluted share, and full-year net earnings of +$178.1 million, or $1.37 per diluted share. "We are very pleased with our quarterly results that cap off a financially successful year," commented Sean Durfy, (WJI) President & CEO. "This was a challenging time for all businesses. The strain of economic uncertainty, fluctuations in oil prices and financial turmoil continue to impact all industries. While the unpredictable nature of 2008 challenged our airline, our continued ability to deliver on our business strategy, conservative approach to maintaining a healthy balance sheet and our team of caring and dedicated "WestJetters" allowed us to once again be a top performer in the industry worldwide."
(WJI) reported a fourth quarter earnings before tax (EBT) margin of 9.5%. For the full-year 2008, the airline had an EBT margin of 10% and an operating margin of 11.5 per cent. "In comparison to those North American airlines who have reported their numbers, our pre-tax margin is once again among the best," commented Sean Durfy. "We weathered the volatility in the financial and credit markets and ended the year with a cash position of over >$820 million."
(WJI) reported 2008 net income of +C$178.1 million/+$145.2 million, down -7.6% from +C$192.8 million in 2007, hailing the performance in a "roller coaster year" in which nearly all North American airlines posted losses. "This is another great news day for (WJI)," President & CEO, Sean Durfy told analysts, noting that the annual income was the second-highest in (WJI)'s history. He said (WJI)'s solid cash position (C$820 million on December 31), low cost model and positive brand awareness "ensure that we will continue to be profitable." Fourth-quarter net income of +C$40.8 million was down -45.9% from +C$75.4 million in the year-ago period but nevertheless marked the carrier's 15th consecutive quarter in the black.
While capacity expanded +17.8% last year, (WJI) will slow (ASM) capacity growth this year to +5%, partly owing to 737NG delivery delays related to the Boeing (TBC) machinists' strike. "We're not going to see the demand growth numbers that we saw in 2006 and 2007," Durfy said. Rather than the aggressive growth that has been its signature in recent years, he noted that (WJI)'s focus in 2009 will be on "developing the technology, capabilities and resources to allow code sharing." Its code share agreement with Southwest Airlines (SWA) likely will go into effect by year end and its tie-up with Air France (AFA)/(KLM) likely will begin in early 2010. Key to those agreements will be implementation by late this year of SabreSonic Customer Sales and Service as its new reservations system.
Durfy said (WJI) also is "in discussion with Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) and other Pacific carriers" about possible code share arrangements but is wary of "overly complex" accords that could affect its efficient Low Cost Carrier (LCC) model negatively.
Full-year revenue rose +19.9% to C$2.55 billion, while expenses jumped +23.5% to C$2.26 billion, producing operating income of +C$292.9 million, down -2.7% from an operating profit of +C$300.9 million in 2007. Traffic increased +17% to 13.73 billion (RPM)s on the +17.8% lift in capacity to 17.14 billion (ASM)s. Load factor was 80.1% LF, down -0.6 point. Yield heightened +2.5% to C18.57 cents as (RASM) expanded +1.8% to C14.88 cents and (CASM) increased +6.7% to C13.17 cents. (CASM) excluding fuel fell -3.2% to C8.28 cents.
(WJI), (AFA) and (KLM) announced their intention to code share by late 2009 or early 2010. A Memo of Understanding (MOU) signed by the three airlines also covers the possibility of interline e-ticketing, through check-in and loyalty program cooperation. (WJI) said the code share would include flights to/from Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. (KLM) will serve all four when its Amsterdam - Calgary route opens in May, while (AFA) flies to Montreal and Toronto. (WJI) Executive VP Commercial Distribution, Hugh Dunleavy said the (MOU) "marks the successful execution of the next step in our strategic plan." Last year (WJI) announced its intention to code share with Southwest Airlines (SWA).
(WJI) and Canadian tourism company Transat AT, which operates Air Transat (AIJ), announced the May 10 termination of a transport agreement originally scheduled to expire next year. The deal allowed Transat Tours Canada to charter (WJI) airplanes. The parties said they "may enter into an ad-hoc charter agreement" in the future. Transat will replace (WJI) with CanJet Airlines (CNJ), with which it signed a five-year deal to April 30, 2014, with two one-year options. (CNJ) operates 737-800s.
(WJI) plans to devote a major portion - - as much as half - - of its growth between 2009 and 2013 to trans-border markets, in particular the Caribbean. Vito Culmone, CFO of (WJI), said that "we can easily see 10-plus new destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. We have less than <20% of that market in places that our 737s can operate into." Culmone explained that USA markets also will take a major portion of its growth and the carrier has six-to-eight new USA cities targeted. He said that (WJI) will focus on destinations that appeal to sun-seekers and so-called 'snowbirds' who want to escape Canada's winters. He said that surveys conducted by Ipsos Reid showed (WJI)'s brand identification is leading that of its major competitor, Air Canada (ACN) in all parts of Canada, except Montreal. "Brand health matters," Culmone said, adding, "brand share leads to market share."
737-8CT (35288, C-GWSR), (ILF) leased.
March 2009: WestJet (WJI) announced the following seasonal services that will operate May 9 to October 31: Weekly flights from Calgary to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta (PVR), Mazatlan (MZT) and Orlando International; weekly service from Vancouver to Cabo and (MZT); weekly Edmonton - (PVR), Toronto - Punta Cana and Montreal - Fort Lauderdale flights.
Trans-border and the Caribbean is to account for roughly half its planned future growth.
Makes "links" with Air France (AFA)/(KLM) to expand to "global" atatus - - SEE ATTACHED - - "WJI-PARTNERS-MAR09."
737-8CT (37158, C-GWSV), (ILF) leased.
April 2009: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.25 billion (RPM)s traffic in March, up 0.6% from the year-ago month. Capacity rose +6.3% to 1.52 billion (ASM)s and load factor fell -4.7 points to 81.9% LF. It said first-quarter (RASM) slid -10% to -12% year-over-year.
737-7CT (36689, C-GWSU), BOC Aviation (SIL) leased.
May 2009: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.19 billion (RPM)s traffic in April, a +5.5% increase from the year-ago month. Capacity rose +7.2% to 1.47 billion (ASM)s and load factor dropped -1.3 points to 81.2% LF.
(WJI) reported first-quarter net income of +C$37.5 million/+$31.7 million, down -28.7% from +C$52.5 million in the year-ago period, citing a weak demand and pricing environment.
President & CEO, Sean Durfy noted that (WJI) grew capacity +7.2% in the quarter despite "less than ideal economic conditions" that drove other North American carriers to slash capacity. It also will grow capacity in the current quarter, but just +1% to +2%, he said. "We anticipate that competitors will continue to withdraw capacity, which we believe will allow us to capture additional market share," he commented.
(WJI) announced that its code share partnership with Southwest Airlines (SWA), slated to launch by late 2009, "will be delayed" because (SWA) "has decided to redirect a portion of its resources dedicated to the code share project towards other near-term revenue opportunities." (WJI) emphasized that its new Sabre reservation system will be online by the fourth quarter and could handle implementation of the code share, but said (SWA) is concerned about launching the arrangement in a weak revenue environment. A (WJI) statement quoted (SWA) Executive VP Strategy & Planning, Bob Jordan as saying, "In response to the current economic environment, (SWA) is focusing its immediate attention on several critical objectives, including increasing our revenues." He added that (SWA) is "absolutely committed to our partnership with (WJI) and to code sharing in general."
Neither carrier said how long the delay might be. (SWA) also has signed a code share deal with Toluca-based, Volaris (VLS) that was expected to kick in sometime next year; it is not clear whether that arrangement has been affected. "(WJI) understands the decision made by (SWI)," (WJI) Executive VP Commercial Distribution, Hugh Dunleavy said. "Our continued USA expansion is a key strategy for our airline, but code sharing is only one element of this. Both airlines remain committed to minimizing delays and are focused on generating revenue as quickly as possible."
(WJI) took delivery of two 737-800s in the first quarter and another early in the current period to bring its fleet to 79 737NGs. It will take delivery of an additional seven 737NGs in the second half.
First-quarter revenue rose +3.3% to C$579.3 million, while expenses lifted +0.3% to C$518.6 million, producing operating income of +C$60.7 million, down -26.5% from +C$82.6 million last year. Traffic increased +5.1% to 3.5 billion (RPM)s on the +7.2% capacity rise to 4.36 billion (ASM)s, generating a load factor of 80.4% LF, down -1.5 points. Yield fell -8.1% to C16.54 cents as (RASM) slid -9.8% to C13.3 cents and (CASM) lowered -6.4% to C11.9 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel heightened +2.9% to C8.5 cents.
"Softening demand, aggressive competitor pricing and Easter falling in the second quarter . . . all contributed to our decline in (RASM)," Durfy said, adding that the drop in fuel prices drove down (CASM) and allowed the carrier to stay in the black. He said second-quarter (RASM) will "at best" experience a "similar" year-over-year decline to the first quarter. "Despite these conditions, we are confident in our business model and our organization's ability to continue on our profitable path," he commented.
Lufthansa Systems announced that (WJI) is using its Lido RouteManual navigational charts.
June 2009: WestJet (WJI) said second-quarter unit revenue will fall -16% to -18% year-over-year. It flew 1.06 billion (RPM)s traffic in May, down -5.8%, while capacity rose +1.2% to 1.44 billion (ASM)s. Load factor dropped -5.4 points to 74.1% LF.
(WJI) intends to cut -C$25 million/-$22.3 million from its cost base over the next six months, President & CEO, Sean Durfy said at (WJI)'s investor day, available via webcast. "We have to really look at the cost because, as I said, revenues are coming down and our cost structure is staying relatively flat, so we are getting a margin squeeze," he explained. A spokesperson told several media outlets that no layoffs are planned.
Durfy also moved to ease concerns over the delay in WestJet (WJI)'s code share agreement with Southwest Airlines (SWA), saying that (SWA) is "committed to our relationship" and to moving forward with the alliance next year. "The USA is under a ton of pressure right now, so let's not read too much into this," he said of the postponement.
GE Aviation (GEC) reached agreement with WestJet (WJI) on an exclusive 12-year OnPoint contract, valued at $850 million to provide Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) services for (WJI)'s fleet of (CFM56-7)s powering its fleet of 79 737NGs. The work will be performed at the StandardAero plant in Winnipeg.
(WJI) and the WestJet Pilots Association (WJPA) announced the ratification of a four-year labor agreement effective July 1 with 89% of those voting approving the deal. (WJPA) Chairman, Dave DeVeaux said the contract provides for "fair and market-driven pay scales" and maintains the pilots (FC)'s position as stakeholders in (WJI).
July 2009: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.03 billion (RPM)s traffic in June, down -7.1% year-over-year. Capacity dropped -2.5% to 1.41 billion (ASM)s and load factor fell -3.6 points to 72.9% LF.
(WJI) will add 11 new destinations in its seasonal winter schedule; Varadero (thrice-weekly from Toronto (YYZ) on November 1), Holguin (twice-weekly from (YYZ) on November 2), Cayo Coco (twice-weekly from (YYZ) on November 4), Ixtapa (twice-weekly from Calgary on November 3), Cozumel (twice-weekly from (YYZ) on December 10), St Maarten (thrice-weekly from (YYZ) on November 1), Providenciales (twice-weekly from (YYZ) on November 4), Freeport (twice-weekly from (YYZ) on November 2), Lihue (twice-weekly from Vancouver (YVR) on December 16), Miami (daily from (YYZ) on October 21) and Atlantic City (daily from (YYZ) on October 22). It also will operate five-times-weekly, Montreal - Las Vegas flights beginning December 17, weekly Ottawa (YOW) - Montego Bay from November 6, weekly (YOW) - Punta Cana (PUJ) from November 7, weekly Hamilton - (PUJ) from November 1; weekly, Thunder Bay - (PUJ) from November 7, daily Edmonton (YYC) - Yellowknife (year-round from November 1), thrice-weekly (YYC) - San Diego (year-round from November 2), four-times-weekly, (YVR) - Los Angeles from January 15, thrice-weekly (YVR) - Phoenix from January 17, daily, (YVR) - Kamloops from November 1 and weekly, Victoria - Honolulu from November 7.
(WJI) and Air France (AFA)/(KLM) launched their interline partnership, allowing (AFA)/(KLM) passengers to connect to Calgary - Vancouver (WJI) flights as well as flights from both cities to Edmonton. In February, the airlines said they had signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) signaling their intention to code share by late 2009 or early 2010. (WJI), which long has sought to expand its international reach via interline partnerships, also has an agreement to cooperate with Southwest Airlines (SWA) but implementation has been postponed. (WJI) Executive VP Commercial Distribution, Hugh Dunleavy said the interline services made available are just the "first step in our strategic partnership" with (AFA)/(KLM), adding, "Starting with only three Canadian cities allows us to take a measured and thoughtful approach to implementation, with the intent to expand this travel to our entire Canadian network."
August 2009: WestJet (WJI) reported second-quarter net income of +C$9.2 million/+$8.6 million, down -65.7% from a +C$26.8 million profit in the year-ago period, and announced that it will lower capacity by -1% to -2% (ASM) in the current quarter. (WJI) noted that the result marked its 17th consecutive quarter of profitability and said it still plans to end 2009 with full-year capacity growth, though the (ASM) rise will be a modest +2% to +3%, instead of previously planned growth of +5%. President & CEO, Sean Durfy said that "the weakened economy and aggressive pricing" damaged (WJI)'s ability to generate revenue, evidenced by a 15.4% year-over-year (RASM) decline to C12.31 cents. "However, lower fuel prices resulted in a significant decline in (CASM) from last year [14% to C11.46 cents] and lessened the profitability erosion," he added.
He explained that the third-quarter capacity cut and reduced full-year growth will be achieved by "lower[ing] our airplane utilization rates through more efficient scheduling of domestic frequencies." (WJI) plans to take delivery of two 737NGs this month to bring its fleet to 81 of the type. (WJI) will take five more in the fourth quarter to bring its year-end fleet to 86.
Second-quarter revenue fell -13.8% to C$531.2 million, while expenses dropped -12.4% to C$494.3 million, producing operating income of +C$36.8 million, down -28.7% from C$51.6 million last year. Its net income suffered from C$17.1 million in interest expense and a -C$9 million foreign exchange loss.
Traffic dipped -2.4% to 3.29 billion (RPM)s on a +1.9% rise in capacity to 4.32 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 76.1% LF, down -3.4 points. Yield slid -11.6% to C16.17 cents and (CASM) excluding fuel and employee profit sharing heightened +2.5% to C8.45 cents.
Looking ahead, Durfy said, "With the continued weak outlook for the economy for the remainder of 2009, we are not expecting any real improvement in our (RASM) numbers for the balance of the year . . . Although there have been some early indications that the economy may be improving, the airline industry typically lags economic improvement by six or more months."
(WJI) announced a revised fleet plan featuring deferred delivery of 16 airplanes and purchase of an additional 14 737-700s that will see (WJI) operating between 112 and 135 planes at the end of 2016. The 14 new airplanes will be delivered in 2015 through 2016. The airline, which currently flies 81 737s, also has 23 leases with Aviation Capital Group (CGP) up for renewal between 2013 and 2016.
(WJI)'s previous plan called for a fleet of 121 airplanes by 2013 and now provides for between 108 and 111 that year. The deferrals comprise both leased and purchased airplanes. (WJI) President & CEO, Sean Durfy said the revisions "better match our strategic plans."
(WJI) said the plan "aligns with the current and planned launch of interline and code share partnerships, the continued rapid growth of its (WJI) Vacations business and . . . plans to grow its share of the business traveler market." It will take delivery of five more airplanes this year and will enter 2010 with 86 planes. It will take an additional five next year, leading to 2010 capacity growth of 5% to 10%. Seven more 737s will arrive in both 2011 and 2012, with six planned for each of the following two years. Three leases are set to expire in 2013. By the end of 2014, (WJI) will have between 114 and 117 airplanes. Ten deliveries now are scheduled for 2015 and eight for 2016, with 12 and eight leases set to expire in those two years, respectively. "It is clear that additional airplanes are needed to meet our strategic growth plans, and we feel comfortable in the capacity and balance-sheet flexibility this improved fleet plan provides," Durfy said.
737-7CT (36691, C-FWSI) and 737-8CT (36690, C-FWSE), BOC Aviation (SIL) leased.
September 2009: WestJet (WJI) announced an offering of 13.4 million common and variable voting shares, with an over-allotment option of up to 2 million shares, which it expects to produce proceeds of C$150 to C$172.5 million/$139 to $159.9 million. A syndicate of underwriters led by (CIBC) will sell the shares at C$11.20 each, and the offer is expected to close on September 30.
October 2009: WestJet (WJI) will operate seasonal weekly service from Calgary to Honolulu (March 7 to April 25) and Maui (March 6 to May 1) and seasonal weekly service from Edmonton to Maui (March 5 to April 30). (WJI) has launched two new international routes: Toronto - Miami and Toronto - Atlantic City. Although Miami is one of America’s highest-cost airports — many Low Cost Carrier (LCC)s serve nearby Fort Lauderdale instead — Miami is a high-demand destination for Canadians in the winter. As for Atlantic City, it’s a popular site for casino enthusiasts and not far from Philadelphia. (WJI) will only serve these routes during the winter. Air Canada (ACN), of course, flies between Toronto and Miami as well. So does American (AAL). But (WJI) will be alone on the Toronto - Atlantic City run.
November 2009: WestJet (WJI) acknowledged that installation of the SabreSonic Customer Sales and Service reservation system last month has led to numerous complications, including a temporary website shutdown and ongoing difficulty in making changes to passengers' reservations, and asked customers for "patience" while it works out the kinks. Details about the reservation system problems came as (WJI) reported third-quarter net income of +C$31.4 million/+$29.2 million, down -45.7% from +C$57.9 million earned in the prior-year period, marking its 18th consecutive profitable quarter. While (WJI) is satisfied with its continuing profitability despite the recession and said it is beginning to see signs that yields are improving, it said its primary current focus is fixing the trouble points surrounding the reservation system installed October 17.
The front page of the (WJI) website is dedicated to a message to customers explaining that the system "was successfully installed" but that complications have led to "slowdowns at airports" and "many of our [passengers spending] too long on the phone trying to get through to one of our agents. This is not the (WJI) experience you have come to know and expect . . . we offer our heartfelt apologies."
President & CEO, Sean Durfy said that it will take "a little bit longer" to smooth out problems with the new system. "Like any enterprise Information Technology (IT) system, that goes into an organization, it's tough," he said. "This system really controls everything we do in the organization." He said (WJI)'s website was "down for an extended period" one day in the second half of October owing to reservation system transition problems. "That won't happen again," he insisted.
The largest problem relates to 600,000 bookings for future flights that were made before the changeover. Those bookings were "migrated" to the SabreSonic CSS system, but "the issue has become that when we needed to change or cancel, we found that it takes an awful long time on the new system," Durfy explained. "That's being worked on and we think we've found a solution." He added that "right now . . . we have no belief that [the problems] will have [a financial] impact on the [fourth-quarter] results."
The reservation system issue overshadowed another relatively solid reporting period for (WJI). Third-quarter revenue lowered -16.4% to C$600.6 million, while expenses fell -15.3% to C$523.7 million, producing operating income of +C$77 million, down -23.2% from C$100.3 million last year. Traffic decreased -3.2% to 3.59 billion (RPM)s on a -1.1% cut in capacity to 4.5 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 79.7% LF, down -1.7 points. Yield lowered -13.7% to C16.74 cents, as (RASM) dipped -15.5% to C13.34 cents and (CASM) dropped -14.4% to C11.63 cents. (CASM) excluding fuel rose +2.5% to C8.16 cents.
(WJI) will launch weekly service from Kelowna to Los Cabos (November 6) and Cancun (December 12). Flights to Puerto Vallarta begin this month.
November 2009: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.09 billion (RPM)s traffic in October, a +0.3% lift from the year-ago month. Capacity fell -1.8% to 1.41 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +1.5 points to 77.3% LF.
(WJI) began flying to St Maarten and Varadero (Cuba).
3 737-7CT (37088, C-FBWS; 37089; 37090, C-GWSO), BOC Aviation (SIL) leased.
December 2009: WestJet (WJI) said fourth-quarter unit revenue is expected to fall -11% to -13% year-over-year. It flew 1.09 billion (RPM)s traffic in November, up +3.1%, against a +3.4% lift in capacity to 1.43 billion (ASM)s. Load factor slipped -0.2 point to 75.9% LF.
(WJI) announced the following new routes: Vancouver to Waterloo (daily from June 27) and San Francisco (daily from June 28); Edmonton to Kamloops and San Francisco (each thrice-weekly from May 2); weekly Toronto - uerto Vallarta, beginning May 7. (WJI) also will expand 18 seasonal routes to year-round service from early May. (WJI) launched five-times-weekly, Montreal - Las Vegas, and twice-weekly, Vancouver - Lihue services.
2 737-7CTs (36693, C-GWSP; 37091, C-GWSQ), BOC Aviation (SIL) leased.
January 2010: WestJet (WJI) will launch daily Toronto Pearson (YYZ) - Bermuda flights on May 3 and weekly, (YYZ) - Samana (Dominican Republic), and Montreal - Punta Cana service on June 5. (WJI) already connects Toronto with the Dominican cities: La Romana, Puerto Plata, and Punta Cana.
February 2010: WestJet (WJI) reported 2009 net income of +C$98.2 million/+$94 million, down -45% from +C$178.5 million in 2008, and said it plans to re-accelerate growth this year after slowing annual capacity expansion to just +2.6% in 2009.
President & CEO, Sean Durfy acknowledged that last year was "very challenging" owing to the recession, H1N1 and "enhanced airport security measures," but said he was "ecstatic" despite the profit decrease because (WJI) achieved profitability in all four quarters to extend its streak of consecutive reporting periods in the black to 19.
He said (WJI) made "significant strides" in addressing problems that developed following installation of the SabreSonic Customer Sales and Service reservation system in October, noting that "call center wait times are very close to pre-cutover levels." He pointed out that the new res system enables it to enter into partnerships with other airlines, including its planned code share pact with Southwest Airlines (SWA) that (SWA) has pushed back. "We're ready to go," he said, adding that it is up to (SWA) to set the agreement in motion.
(WJI) took delivery of five 737NGs in the 2009 fourth quarter and a further 737-800 this month to bring its fleet to 87, all 737NGs. (WJI) will take a 737-700 by the end of the current quarter and three more NGs later in 2010. The additions are driving a ramp-up in capacity following last year's uncharacteristic low growth rate, with (ASM)s projected to rise +7% in the first quarter and +9% to +10% for the full year. Challenged by analysts about whether the capacity increase is too large given the apparent slow pace of the economic recovery and (WJI)'s 2009 profit slide, Durfy responded, "You have to continue to grow airlines and we're going to do that."
He noted that a large portion of the capacity increase will be directed at transborder and Caribbean services, with "some softness" and "tremendous pricing pressure" present in the domestic Canadian market, of which (WJI) has a 37% to 38% share.
Revenue in 2009 fell -10.5% to C$2.28 billion, while expenses lowered -8.4% to C$2.07 billion, producing operating income of +C$210.6 million, narrowed -28.1% from +C$292.8 million in 2008. Traffic rose +0.8% to 13.83 billion (RPM)s on the +2.6% lift in capacity to 17.59 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 78.7% LF, down -1.4 points. Yield decreased -11.2% to C16.49 cents, as (RASM) dipped -12.8% to C12.97 cents, and (CASM) declined -10.6% to C11.77 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel increased +1.9% to C8.45 cents. Fourth-quarter net income was +C$20.2 million, down -51.9% from +C$42 million in the prior-year period.
Amadeus reached a multiyear global distribution agreement with WestJet (WJI) giving worldwide Amadeus agents access to the airline's content and real-time data.
March 2010: WestJet (WJI) said first-quarter unit revenue will fall less than -3% year-over-year. (WJI) flew 1.22 billion (RPM)s traffic in February, up +9%, while capacity rose +9.3% to 1.48 billion (ASM)s. Load factor slipped -0.1 point to 82.5% LF.
(WJI) launched a frequent flyer program in partnership with RBC and MasterCard, offering passengers for the first time the opportunity "to earn and accumulate WestJet (WJI) dollars," (WJI) said. "Every (WJI) dollar can be used as cash toward the purchase of any flight on any date to any destination . . . There are no points, redemption grids, advance booking, blackouts or seat restrictions - - just dollars off flights and vacation packages." VP Marketing, Lauri Feser added that the program will "be simple, open and transparent . . . For the frequent business traveler, our research indicates there is strong appeal for the rewards offered by this type of program."
WestJet (WJI) President & CEO, Sean Durfy announced his resignation effective April 1, insisting he was leaving on his own accord to "spend more time with my young family," and Executive VP Operations, Gregg Saretsky was appointed as (WJI)'s new President & CEO.
Durfy, who had served as President & COO of Calgary power utility Enmax Energy Corporation before joining (WJI) in 2004 as Executive VP Sales & Marketing, was handpicked by charismatic (WJI) founder, Clive Beddoe to take over as President in September 2006 at age 40. He was given the CEO title in September 2007 when Beddoe stepped back from day-to-day duties but retained his role as Chairman.
Durfy is credited with guiding (WJI)'s expansion into scheduled Caribbean services and launching "WestJet Vacations," which sells vacation packages for destinations served by (WJI), as well as inking interline accords with Air France (AFA)/(KLM) and Southwest Airlines (SWA). But he apologized last fall when installation of the SabreSonic Customer Sales and Service reservation system led to numerous complications including a temporary website shutdown. He said last month that the airline had made "significant strides" in addressing the problems.
Speaking to reporters in Calgary, Durfy denied that the reservation system problems or any other issues led to his departure, explaining that he had no new career plans and was excited about spending time with his children. In a statement, he said, "This was a very difficult decision for me. However, after careful consideration, I have decided that this is best for me and my family." He will remain with (WJI) through September 1 to help with the transition.
Beddoe said the company "will miss Sean's passion and leadership at the executive and board level and we sincerely thank him." He added that "a search for the most suitable candidate" led (WJI) to tap Saretsky as Durfy's successor.
Saretsky began his career in the airline industry in 1985 with Canadian Airlines (CDI), where he held a variety of positions, and in 1998 moved to Alaska Airlines (ASA), where he served as Executive VP Marketing & Planning. He joined (WJI) in June 2009 as VP WestJet Vacations and in October was named Executive VP Operations.
April 2010: Southwest Airlines (SWA) responded to comments from WestJet (WJI) that it is considering exploring additional code share opportunities, including one with Delta Air Lines (DAL), insisting that it it is "prepared to move forward to implement our agreement" with (WJI) but that it will look for alternatives for Canada service if (WJI) goes in a different direction. WestJet (WJI) is one of the beneficiaries of a compromise offered by (DAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) regarding their proposed New York LaGuardia (LGA)/Washington National slot swap and would receive five former (DAL) pairs at (LGA).
(SWA) said a (DAL)/(WJI) code share "could be inconsistent with the agreement presently in place between Southwest (SWA) and WestJet (WJI)," which was supposed to launch late last year but was delayed. "The (SWA)/(WJI) project was on target in accordance with a mutually agreed upon timetable," (SWA) Executive VP Strategy & Planning, Bob Jordan said. "However, (WJI) in recent weeks requested material and significant changes to our agreement that we could not accept . . . We have not yet been notified of (WJI)'s intent to terminate that agreement."
Later, however, fewer than two years after Southwest Airlines (SWA) called WestJet (WJI) "the perfect fit" for a code share partnership that promised to expand its reach outside the USA, (SWA) said it will "terminate" the relationship with its Canadian counterpart (WJI) before the agreement ever gets implemented. The code share pact, announced in July 2008, was supposed to start late last year, giving (SWA) passengers access to Canada's second-largest airline and (WJI) access to (SWA)'s extensive USA domestic network. But (SWA) postponed implementation last year because it said the recession necessitated that it focus "immediate attention on several critical objectives, including increasing our revenues." Former (WJI) President & CEO, Sean Durfy, who resigned last month for personal reasons, said in February that (WJI) was "ready to go" with the code share and was waiting on (SWA).
In recent weeks, talks between (WJI) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) regarding a possible code share accord surfaced and (SWA) expressed its objections, saying a (WJI)/(DAL) deal "could be inconsistent with the agreement presently in place between (SWA) and (WJI)."
(SWA) said in a statement that (WJI) had "requested significant changes to the agreement that the two airlines have had in place since 2008 . . . (SWA) cannot agree with the modifications." Executive VP Strategy & Planning, Bob Jordan added, "Upon reviewing the number of changes that (WJI) has requested, we have decided that it is in the best interest of both parties to move forward independently." He said (SWA) "would not rule out future code share relationships with Canadian carriers or flying north of the border ourselves."
(WJI) VP Planning & Strategy, Hugh Dunleavy said that "ending the agreement is best for both companies at this point in time." He added that (WJI) will continue to pursue a code share agreement with a USA airline. "(WJI) plans to sign and implement partnerships with strategically aligned carriers from each of the major regions around the world," he said. "To date, (WJI) has been approached about potential partnerships by over 70 airlines, including a number of large USA carriers."
These brief statements by the Low Cost Carriers (LCC)s were in stark contrast to the celebratory feel of the code share accord's announcement 21 months ago. Durfy then said, "This is a defining moment . . . When you examine our network in Canada and (SWA)'s network in the USA, and the potential to significantly improve both organizations' market access, this is indeed a great day."
May 2010: WestJet (WJI) reported first-quarter net income of +C$13.8 million/+$13.6 million, down -63.1% from a +C$37.4 million profit in the year-ago period, but despite the drop touted its 20th consecutive quarter in the black and said it is eagerly exploring potential code share partnerships. New President & CEO, Gregg Saretsky, who took over for Sean Durfy on April 1, told analysts and reporters that "elevated fuel prices" hurt the first-quarter results and added that the economic recovery is at an early stage: "We still see ourselves in a period that is somewhat uncertain. We're not all the way back."
He said the carrier is actively exploring code share opportunities including one with Delta Air Lines (DAL). "We both see benefits in a partnership and we continue to have discussions," he explained, adding that (WJI) is looking for USA code share partners "that can inject high-quality business (C) passengers into our network." (WJI)'s exploration of ties with (DAL) helped scuttle its code share pact with Southwest Airlines (SWA) before it got off the ground. But Saretsky said (WJI) has ambitions eventually to enter into deals with as many as "nine or 10" airlines around the world and has "left the door open" to talks with (SWA) at some point in the future.
He said complications associated with last year's installation of the SabreSonic Customer Sales and Service reservation system largely have been resolved following "some back end cleanup," stating, "We're now in a place where all of our service levels to our external customers are back to normal."
(WJI) plans to grow capacity +10% in the current quarter and +9% to +10% for the full year, with an ongoing focus on expanding its trans-border and Caribbean services. "Our capacity is going to continue to be pointed south for the rest of 2010," Saretsky said, but added, "It doesn't mean we're abandoning our objective of increasing our network penetration in the Canadian market."
First-quarter revenue rose +7% to C$619.8 million, while expenses heightened +12.1% to C$581.4 million, producing operating income of +C$38.4 million, down -36.7% from +C$60.7 million last year. Traffic lifted +9.7% to 3.84 billion (RPM)s on a 7.9% boost in capacity to 4.7 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 81.7% LF, up +1.3 points. Yield fell -2.4% to C$0.161, as (RASM) dipped -0.8% to C$0.132, and (CASM) increased +3.9% to C$0.124. (CASM) ex-fuel rose +4.9% to C$0.089.
June 2010: WestJet (WJI) operated 1.27 billion (RPM)s traffic in May, up +18.9% year-over-year, on a +13.4% increase in capacity to 1.63 billion (ASM)s, which it attributed to its "southern markets." Load factor rose +3.6 points to 77.7% LF. "We saw solid demand domestically and for our newly introduced year-round service to a number of sun destinations in the USA, Mexico and the Caribbean," President & CEO, Gregg Saretsky said.
WestJet (WJI) announced that it cut its full-price fares by an average of -25% across its entire 68-city North American and Caribbean network. (WJI), which has an estimated 35% to 40% share of the Canadian domestic market, said the introduction of "everyday value fares" will result in lower fares across its entire schedule up to 330 days ahead of departure.
"Feedback from our guests shows that they are frustrated at the unpredictability of fares with seat sales only available up to a few months in advance," said Executive VP, Strategy & Planning, Hugh Dunleavy. "WestJet (WJI) is listening and has responded by providing [customers] the opportunity to book great prices across the entire schedule." Last-minute travelers, or those traveling during peak travel periods such as during the Christmas holiday period, will find "significantly reduced fares," he said. (WJI) earned +C$13.8 million/+$13.5 million in the 2010 first quarter, its 20th consecutive quarter of profitability.
737-8CT (36696, C-GWSX), BOC Aviation (SIL) leased.
July 2010: WestJet (WJI) flew 1.22 billion (RPM)s traffic in June, up +19% from the year-ago month. Capacity climbed +10.9% to 1.57 billion (ASM)s, lifting load factor +5.3 points to 78.2% LF.
(WJI) will operate Toronto service to New Orleans (four-times-weekly, November 1), Grand Cayman (thrice-weekly, November 4) and Santa Clara, Cuba (weekly, November 5) through its winter season. (WJI) will operate weekly service to Montego Bay from Vancouver (November 2), Edmonton (November 5), Calgary (November 6), Saskatoon (October 31), Regina (November 3), Winnipeg (twice-weekly, November 3), and Montreal (November 5). Weekly service to Varadero will operate from Calgary and Montreal beginning November 6, while twice-weekly Toronto - Palm Springs service begins in February.
August 2010: WestJet (WJI) operated 1.40 billion (RPM)s traffic in July, up +18.2% year-over-year, on a +11.9% increase in capacity to 1.74 billion (ASM)s. Load factor rose +4.3 points to 80.7% LF.
(WJI) reported +C$21 million/+$20.6 million in second quarter net income, more than double the +C$9.2 million profit in the year-ago period, citing improved demand and higher commissions from its WestJet (WJI) Vacations business. “We are pleased to deliver our 21st consecutive quarter of profitability,” President & CEO, Gregg Saretsky said, noting that (WJI) is encouraged by booking trends and the "improved mix of fares we are selling” in the current quarter. But (WJI) also said it will defer three 737NGs set to arrive in 2011 and 2012 to 2017, citing "economic uncertainty." It will now take delivery of six 737NGs in 2011 and five in 2012.
Second-quarter revenue rose +15.2% to C$612 million, while operating expenses increased +15.7% to C$572 million, producing an operating profit of +C$40.2 million, slightly ahead of a +C$36.8 million operating profit in the year-ago period.
Traffic rose +16.4% to 3.83 billion (RPM)s on a +10.9% boost in capacity to 4.78 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 80% LF, up +3.9 points. Yield declined -1.1% to C$0.16 as (RASM) heightened +4% to C$0.128 and (CASM) grew +4.4% to C$0.12. (CASM) ex-fuel dipped -0.1% to C$0.084.
Saretsky told reporters and analysts that he believes the Canadian economy needs to rebound further before it can support new domestic capacity growth. “Although we are encouraged by the growth in (RASM), this growth was not mirrored in Canada,” he said. (WJI) continues to pursue code share opportunities, according to Saretsky and is “making good progress" toward a code share deal that could be announced by year’s end.
WestJet (WJI) will operate seasonal weekly service from Quebec City to Cancun (December 11 - April 30) and Fort Lauderdale (December 12 - April 24). (WJI) will also operate weekly Saskatoon - Phoenix service December 17 - April 29 and weekly, Edmonton - Orlando service December 18 - April 30, as well as twice-weekly, Ottawa - Las Vegas service December 9 - April 28.
WestJet (WJI) is deferring one 737-800 delivery scheduled for next year and another two scheduled for 2012 all the way out to 2017. Despite sustained profitability for 21 quarters, (WJI) is having a hard time justifying significant capacity growth within Canada. All of its growth is coming from sunshine markets to the south.
September 2010: WestJet (WJI) operated 1.44 billion (RPM)s traffic in August, up +8.2% on the year-ago month. Capacity climbed +11.3% to 1.75 billion (ASM)s and load factor fell -2.3 points to 82.2% LF.
October 2010: WestJet (WJI) operated 1.17 billion (RPM)s traffic in September, up +8.8% from the year-ago month, on a +11.9% increase in capacity to 1.55 billion (ASM)s. Load factor slipped -2.2 points to 75.5% LF.
Cathay Pacific (CAT) said it will begin code sharing with WestJet (WJI) for travel beginning October 20. Under the agreement, Cathay's "CX" code will be placed on WestJet (WJI) flights between Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, and Winnipeg, plus (CAT)'s two Canadian gateways, Toronto and Vancouver.
(WJI) has added another major operator to its growing list of partners
with its first interline agreement with a USA legacy carrier, American Airlines (AAL). The deal initially enables (AAL)’s passengers to transfer to a (WJI) flight at six Canadian airports on a single ticket for bookings made from November 9, but both carriers say they “are exploring other ways to enhance customer benefits through other commercial cooperation agreements.”
(WJI), which has similar arrangements with Air France (AFA)-(KLM) and China Airlines (BEJ), has signaled it wants to expand the relationship with some of its partners to full code share. “(AAL)’s interline agreement with (WJI) complements our North American network and greatly benefits our customers by offering additional connections to and from new Canadian markets,” says (AAL)’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Virasb Vahidi in a statement. Hugh Dunleavy, (WJI)’s Executive VP Strategy & Planning, in the same statement notes that “this agreement represents (WJI)’s first interline with a USA carrier, and we are excited to be working with such a well-established and recognized global airline like (AAL).”
For now, (AAL) will interline through the six gateways in Canada currently served by (AAL) or its American Eagle Airlines regional affiliate: Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver. The carriers expect this arrangement to expand in December to include “additional connecting opportunities through (WJI)’s nonstop USA flights to Canadian cities.” According to the two operators, this interline accord provides (AAL) connecting service to 25 new Canadian cities not currently served by (AAL).
November 2010: WestJet (WJI) operated 1.24 billion (RPM)s traffic in October, up +13.4% from the year-ago month, on a +13.3% increase in capacity to 1.6 billion (ASM)s. Load factor grew +0.1 point to 77.4% LF.
(WJI) reported third-quarter net income of +C$54 million/+$53.4 million, up +72% over a +C$31.4 million profit in the year-ago period, marking its 22nd straight reporting period in the black.
Separately, WestJet (WJI) said it will issue an initial quarterly dividend of C$0.05 per common voting share and variable voting share, becoming one of the few carriers in the world to reward shareholders in this way. Quarterly revenue rose +14% to C$684.6 million, while expenses climbed +13.5% to C$594.4 million, producing operating income of +C$90.2 million, up +17.1% over a +C$77 million operating profit last year. CFO, Vito Culmone told analysts and reporters that (WJI) has "increasing confidence that pricing is starting to improve" and that the climate is right for capacity expansion. Its capacity is projected to grow +13% to +14% year-over-year in the fourth quarter and +10% to +11% for the full year 2010. The focus is on increased transborder and international flying, with domestic capacity (ASM)s expected to be "down slightly" in the current quarter compared with last year, Culmone commented.
President & CEO, Gregg Saretsky said there will be a continued focus on "ways to reduce costs" and making operations more efficient. New self-service options will be rolled out for passengers, he noted, pointing to newly introduced self-bag tagging at Vancouver and Calgary and the planned implementation of self-bag tagging at Toronto Pearson and Edmonton by year end.
Ancillary revenue will continue to be a priority, (WJI) said, announcing that passengers will be charged C$20 for a second checked bag on all flights for travel on or after January 11 for bookings starting immediately. At the same time, it is reducing its fee for third and fourth checked bags from C$75 to C$50. (WJI), which previously didn't charge for the first two checked bags, still won't charge for a first checked bag. It said the new fee structure could raise as much as C$10 million annually. "We believe this new checked baggage approach more closely aligns us with standard industry practices," Saretsky said.
Third-quarter traffic increased +11.7% to 4.01 billion (RPM)s on a +11.7% lift in capacity to 5.03 billion (ASM)s, producing a flat load factor of 79.6% LF. Yield heightened +2.1% to C$0.171, as (RASM) improved +2% to C$0.136 and (CASM) increased +1.5% to C$0.118. (CASM) excluding fuel grew +1.1% to C$0.083.
WestJet (WJI)'s first quarterly dividend will be paid on January 21 to shareholders of record on December 15. It also said it will buy back around 5% of its outstanding stock over the next year. "We are pleased to announce our dividend and share buy-back program and provide our shareholders who continue to believe in our low-cost, high-value airline with an even greater return on their investment," Saretsky stated.
WestJet (WJI) will launch thrice-weekly, Toronto - Grand Cayman seasonal service November 4 to April 28 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. It also launched weekly seasonal, Toronto - Santa Clara service each Friday, between November 5 and April 29. It is (WJI)'s fourth destination in Cuba. (WJI) will operate weekly St John's - Orlando service February 20 - May 8 as well as weekly Halifax service to Montego Bay (February 14 - May 2), Punta Cana (February 18 - May 6), Ft Lauderdale (February 19 - May 7) and Tampa (February 19 - May 7). (WJI) launched seasonal four-times-weekly, Toronto - New Orleans service, operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays through April 29.
December 2010: WestJet (WJI) is a Canadian low-cost carrier (LCC), operating scheduled services to destinations across North America, with international charter services and transborder services to USA destinations.
Employees = 4,187.
(IATA) Code: WS - 838. (ICAO) Code: WJA (Callsign - WESTJET).
Parent organization/shareholders: Publicly held.
Alliances: Air France (AFA); (KLM); & Southwest Airlines (SWA).
Main Base: Calgary International Airport (YYC).
Domestic, Scheduled Destinations: Abbotsford; Calgary; Charlottetown; Comox; Edmonton; Fort McMurray; Grande Prairie; Halifax; Kelowna; London; Moncton; Montreal; Ottawa; Prince George; Regina; Saskatoon; St Johns; Thunder Bay; Toronto; Vancouver; Victoria; & Winnipeg.
International, scheduled destinations: Bermuda; Cancun; Cayo Coco; Cozumel; Fort Lauderdale; Fort Myers; Grand Cayman; Havana; Holguin; Honolulu; Ixtapa; Kahului; Las Vegas; Lihue; Los Angeles; Los Cabos; Maui; Montego Bay; New Orleans; Orlando; Palm Springs; Phoenix; Providenciales; Puerto Plata; Punta Cana; Samana (Dominican Republic); San Francisco; Santa Clara (Cuba); St Maarten; Tampa; & Varadero.
WestJet (WJI) said it will wet lease a 757-200 from North American Airlines (NNA) to be used on Calgary - Honolulu - Maui and Edmonton - Maui routings from February 12 - April 30, 2011, subject to Canadian government approval. (NNA) will operate the airplane on behalf of (WJI), providing pilots (FC), flight attendants (CA) and maintenance personnel (MT). (WJI) operates an all 737NG fleet comprising 91 airplanes. "This temporary lease will allow WestJet (WJI) to provide additional capacity," Executive VP Strategy & Planning, Hugh Dunleavy said. "With this leased airplane, we'll be able to seat 193 guests, an increase from using our own 737-700s … While the Next-Generation 737 airplane is ideal for WestJet (WJI), there are select situations where a longer-range airplane is more ideally suited."
January 2011: WestJet (WJI) posted 2010 net income of +C$136.7 million/+$138 million, up +39.3% over a +C$98.2 million profit in 2009, on a +14.5% jump in revenue to C$2.61 billion. Despite the strong results, (WJI) announced it will defer delivery of six 737NGs from 2012 - 2015 to 2017 - 2018. "Our controllable costs remain in check and we feel our low-cost structure and fuel-efficient fleet have us well equipped to withstand fuel price volatility," President & CEO, Gregg Saretsky said in a statement. Fourth-quarter net income was +C$47.9 million, more than double a +$20.2 million profit in the prior-year period, marking (WJI)'s 23rd consecutive quarter in the black.
(WJI) said it will defer the delivery of two 737NGs slated to arrive in 2012, one in 2013, two in 2014 and one in 2015, instead receiving three 737NGs in 2017 and three in 2018. "The decision to defer these airplane deliveries increases the flexibility in our fleet plan and creates some additional pricing power for us at a time of rising fuel costs and global economic uncertainty, all without deviating from our long-term growth strategy," Saretsky explained. "This revised delivery schedule allows us to match the timing of those deliveries with the dates for potential lease returns, which permits us to accelerate or decelerate capacity growth dependent on economic and market conditions."
(WJI) currently operates 91 737NGs and previously said it had the potential to add +44 more through leases and purchases by the end of 2017, possibly raising its fleet total to 135 of the type. Saretsky said that no orders have been canceled, indicating the fleet could now potentially reach 132 737NGs by 2017 and 135 by 2018.
Full-year expenses rose +14% to C$2.36 billion and operating income was +C$247.5 million, a +17% improvement over an operating profit of +C$210.6 million in 2009. Full-year traffic grew +12.9% compared to 2009 to 15.61 billion (RPM)s on a +11.1% hike in capacity to 19.54 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 79.9% LF, up +1.2 points. Yield increased +1.3% to C$0.167 as (RASM) lifted +3% to C$0.134 and (CASM) rose 2.7% to C$0.121. (CASM) ex-fuel upped +0.8% to C$0.085.
(WJI) will operate seasonal daily Orange Country service from Vancouver and Calgary starting May 2 and June 13, respectively.
Nearly 1 million Canadians visited Cuba last year; the figures have been boosted by Westjet (WJI)'s new flights.
In a textbook preemptive move, Alaska Airlines (ASA) began flying to Honolulu from Bellingham, an airport located between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, Canada. The idea is to prevent Allegiant Air (WJE), which already serves eight destinations from Bellingham, from getting a foothold in the Hawaii market, one that’s increasingly key to (ASA)’s fortunes. (WJE) is buying 757s to start Hawaii service. Of course, Air Canada (ACN) and WestJet (WJI) also fly to Honolulu from Vancouver, BC, while (ASA) and Delta Airlines (DAL) have Honolulu non-stops from Seattle. It might not be long before Southwest (SWA) enters the Hawaii market using 737-800s (which start arriving in 2012), although it would probably fly there from California, where it has stronger brand loyalty. (ASA) is also using 737-800s for its new Bellingham flights.
February 2011: WestJet (WJI) operated 1.37 billion (RPM)s traffic in January, up +9.7% from the year-ago month, on a +11.2% increase in capacity to 1.77 billion (ASM)s. Load factor slipped -1 point to 77.8% LF.
WestJet (WJI) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) said that they have entered into an interline agreement, effective immediately that will allow passengers to connect between each other's flights at 25 USA and Canadian airports. (WJI), which enjoys a 37% share of the Canadian domestic market and around a 9% share of trans-border flying, has made expanding its reach via partnerships with airlines from around the world a key component of its growth strategy. Prior to this announcement, (WJI) had inked code share deals with Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) and Air France (AFA)/(KLM).
"The goal is to have one code share partner for each major geographical region," (WJI) President & CEO, Gregg Saretsky said in a recent interview. "Probably in Europe you need one that covers the UK and another that serves the continent. And then in the Asia/Pacific there are probably a couple of partners [in addition to (CAT)]." Regarding the USA, he said, "We haven't limited our thinking to [only having] a single code share partner. There are any number of [potential USA] partners that give us adequate coverage." He has expressed a desire to expand to more USA business cities (most of (WJI)'s trans-border flights are to warm-weather leisure destinations), in part via code sharing with a major USA operator.
(WJI) previously had entered into a code share pact with Southwest Airlines (SWA), but (SWA) nixed the accord last spring before it got off the ground, in part because it objected to (WJI)'s conversations with (DAL) regarding code sharing.
"This news demonstrates that we continue to deliver on our strategic plan to establish partnerships with airlines from around the world," (WJI) Executive VP Strategy & Planning, Hugh Dunleavy said.
(WJI), in a bold challenge to Air Canada (ACN) in the country's lucrative "eastern triangle" business (C) travel market, announced it will offer 10 flights each business day between Toronto and Montreal and nine flights each business day between Toronto and Ottawa, beginning May 2. The news came the same day (WJI) said it would interline with Delta Air Lines (DAL). "This initiative demonstrates our commitment to offer the business (C) traveler what they need in this important market," said (WJI) Executive VP Sales, Marketing & Guest Experience, Bob Cummings. "We're building on our great service, offering new features and conveniences that make (WJI) a compelling and relevant choice for our guests traveling on business (C). This announcement is the springboard for other strategic initiatives that are planned to improve the value we provide for business (C) travelers."
(WJI) said the flights will be offered "at peak business times and depart from easy access gates at these airports," with departures beginning at 7 am in each market. Customers traveling on these flights can take an earlier or later flight on the same day without incurring additional fees. (WJI) also will offer complementary wine and beer on board.
Additionally, customers traveling between the cities will be offered -50% off their next Toronto - Montreal or Toronto - Ottawa flight if their airplane is delayed by more than >30 minutes. If a flight is canceled, affected passengers receive "full credit for the cost of their ticket plus 50% off their next Toronto - Montreal or Toronto - Ottawa flight."
"Our low-cost structure allows us to comfortably price the triangle at considerably lower levels throughout the fare structure," Cummings said. "Our WestJetters are looking forward to earning a significant amount of the business travel market in the triangle."
WestJet (WJI) will operate weekly, seasonal St John's - Orlando service until May 8. (WJI) will operate weekly seasonal, Moncton - Orlando service until May 5.
757-28AER (26277, N750NA - - SEE PHOTO - - "WJA-2011-02-757-28AER"), North American Airlines (NNA) wet-leased through April.
March 2011: WestJet (WJI) continued its strategy of transborder/international expansion via code share agreements, inking a comprehensive pact with American Airlines (AAL). (AAL) and (WJI) said in a statement that, subject to regulatory approval, (AAL)'s code will be placed on WestJet (WJI) flights "to up to 20 Canadian cities not currently served by American (AAL) or American Eagle." (WJI) will initially place its code on (AAL) or American Eagle flights from Canada to Chicago O'Hare and Boston, "with expanded service throughout the American Airlines (AAL) network expected in the near future," the carriers said.
(WJI), which last year saw its pact with Southwest Airlines (SWA) collapse, announced a code share accord with Delta Air Lines (DAL) last month. Internationally, it has reached such agreements with Air France (AFA)/(KLM) and Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT).
(AAL) and (WJI) said members of each airline's loyalty programs will be able to earn miles or rewards on the code share flights. "The two airlines are exploring other ways to augment their cooperation in the future," they stated. "Our code share with WestJet (WJI) will further expand our North American network and provide our customers seamless connections to and from cities throughout Canada," said (AAL) (CCO), Virasb Vahidi.
(WJI) Executive VP Strategy & Planning, Hugh Dunleavy added, "WestJet (WJI) is executing our strategic plan to evolve our interline and code share capabilities, and in particular these initial routes should immediately enhance our reach and value proposition to business and corporate travelers in central Canada in particular."
May 2011: WestJet (WJI) reported first-quarter net income of +C$48.2 million/+$50.8 million, a big increase over a +C$2.4 million profit in the year-ago period, as revenue jumped +24.7% year-over-year to C$772.4 million. The period marked (WJI)'s 24th straight quarter in the black.
"To start 2011 with strong earnings in an environment of elevated fuel costs is another testament to the resiliency of (WJI)," said President & CEO, Gregg Saretsky. Speaking to reporters and analysts, he added, "Demand continues to be very strong. Our bookings for 2nd quarter (Q2) and (Q3) are very promising. If demand stays strong, we're comfortable today that we've offset the price of fuel [through successful fare increases]."
First-quarter expenses heightened +16.4% to C$692.6 million, including a +36.8% hike in fuel costs to C$219 million. Operating profit was +C$79.8 million, more than triple operating income of C$24.1 million in the 2010 March quarter. Traffic increased +11.7% to 4.29 billion (RPM)s on a +11.3% climb in capacity to 5.23 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 82% LF, up +0.3 point. Yield lifted +11.6% to C$0.18 as (RASM) grew +12.1% to C$0.148 and (CASM) rose +4.5% to C$0.132. (CASM) ex-fuel lowered -3.3% to C$0.089.
(WJI) took delivery of three airplanes during the quarter, comprising a leased 737-700, a leased 737-800 and one purchased 737-700. (WJI)'s fleet as of March 31 stood at 94 737NGs including 40 on lease. "Under our current fleet plan, we have 33 airplane leases expiring between 2013 and 2018, each with the option to renew, and commitments to take delivery of an additional 41 airplanes," (WJI) stated in a presentation to investors. "This provides us with the flexibility to end 2018 with a fleet size between 102 and 135 airplanes, dependent on the exercise of the lease renewal options." Daily airplane utilization during the first quarter rose +3.8% year-over-year to 12.15 hours.
June 2011: WestJet (WJI) launched daily, Calgary - Orange County service.
September 2011: Westjet (WJI) introduced new non-stop flights from Hamilton to Las Vegas on September 9th using 737-700s with capacity for 136 passengers and average flying time of four hours.
November 2011: WestJet (WJI) reported a +C$39.3 million/+$38.8 million third-quarter net profit, down -10.4% from net income of +C$43.8 million in the prior-year period. (WJI)'s 26th straight quarterly profit was a "solid" result, particularly given "significantly higher fuel costs," President & CEO, Gregg Saretsky said.
He added, "The broader economy continues to experience a great deal of volatility and consumer confidence measures, echo that uncertainty. However, we are not seeing this impact reflected in our forward bookings in any significant manner. We are optimistic that demand for air travel will remain healthy."
(WJI) boosted third-quarter revenue +13.3% year-over-year to C$775.3 million, while expenses heightened +16.9% to C$709.2 million. Airplane fuel costs jumped +35.1% to C$230.8 million. Operating profit was +C$66 million, down -14.4%.
Third-quarter traffic rose +7.7% year-over-year to 4.32 billion (RPM)s on a +7.1% lift in capacity to 5.4 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 80.1% LF, up +0.5 point. Yield increased +5.3% to C$0.18.
(WJI)'s board of directors declared a cash dividend of C$0.05 per common voting share and variable voting share for the fourth quarter to be paid December 30 to shareholders of record on December 14. (WJI) is one of the few carriers in the world to reward shareholders in this way.
In an interview late last year, Saretsky said, "We've generated, year after year, a very strong cash flow. So at some point you say, ‘How do I use that cash?’ . . . We have shareholders who actually believe in our business model and at some point you want to reward them, and that's the dividend."
757-21KER (28674, G-GJZS), Thomas Cook (JMA) wet-leased.
December 2011: Japan Airlines (JAL) and WestJet Airlines (WJI) have reached a code share agreement under which (JAL) will place its code on (WJI) flights between Vancouver and Calgary (6X-weekly), Edmonton (daily), Kelowna (daily), Montreal (daily), Toronto (6X-weekly), and Winnipeg (6X-weekly), beginning December 15.
Delta Air Lines (DAL) and WestJet (WJI) said they will expand their cooperation agreement with increased code sharing starting with January 23 flights. (WJI) has been following a strategy of network growth via code sharing. It last year inked accords with both American Airlines (AAL) and (DAL). (DAL) and (WJI) began interlining in 2011, allowing passengers switching between the two carriers to purchase connecting flights on one ticket, receive boarding passes for all segments and check bags through to a final destination.
Under the new code sharing accord, (DAL) will place its code on (WJI) flights to over 15 cities, while (WJI)'s code will be added to (DAL) flights to five USA markets. "Our code share partnership with WestJet (WJI) means an array of expanded travel options in the USA and Canada for our customers, with easy access to the airline's extensive Canadian network and transborder service between Canada and the United States," (DAL) VP Alliances, Charlie Pappas said.
February 2012: WestJet (WJI) reported a 2011 net profit of +C$148.7 million/+$149.3 million, up +64.9% from +C$90.2 million in net income in 2010, and announced it will launch a regional turboprop airline next year.
Regarding the new regional affiliate, which will fly under its own air operating certificate (AOC), (WJI) President & (CEO), Gregg Saretsky said, "We're trying to the degree possible, to replicate the way WestJet (WJI) was launched in 1996." The not-yet-named carrier will operate short-haul, low-cost flights with either Bombardier DHC-8-Q400s or ATR72-600s, Saretsky said, noting that a request for proposals (RFP) will be issued to Bombardier and ATR shortly.
The new regional carrier will operate a single airplane type, with a decision on which to order coming by mid-year. Saretsky called the establishment of the regional, on which few details were provided, "the logical next step in WestJet (WJI)'s evolution." He said the regional "will be accretive to (WJI)'s earnings" and will allow (WJI) to expand its reach to Canadian markets that are not viable to serve with its 737NGs.
(WJI)'s 2011 revenue increased by +17.8% year-over-year to C$3.07 billion, outpacing a +16.1% rise in costs to C$2.81 billion, including a +35.8% jump in airplane fuel expenditures to C$915.9 million. Operating profit was +C$256.6 million, up +34.1%. (WJI)'s full-year operating margin rose +1.1 points over 2010 to 8.4%. Traffic lifted +8.2% to 16.89 billion (RPM)s on +8.5% growth in capacity to 21.2 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 79.7% LF, down -0.2 points. Yield grew +8.9% year-over-year to C$0.182.
(WJI) will launch daily, Chicago O’Hare 737 service to Vancouver and Calgary on May 14.
(WJI) plans to take delivery of three 737NGs this year, bringing its fleet to 100 of the type by year end.
737-8CT (39071, C-GWRG), delivery.
April 2012: Westjet (WJI) reported first-quarter net income of +C$68.3 million/+$69.4 million, up +41.6% from +C$48.2 million in the year-ago period. First-quarter revenue rose +15.3% to C$891 million, while expenses lifted +13.4% to C$785.3 million, producing operating income of +C$105.7 million, up +32.3% from +C$79.8 million last year.
Traffic increased +10% to 4.72 billion (RPM)s on an +8.8% capacity rise to 5.69 billion (ASM)s, generating a load factor of 83% LF, up one point. Yield rose +4.8% to C18.87 cents as (RASM) rose +6% to C15.66 cents and (CASM) lifted +4.2% to C13.8 cents. (CASM) ex-fuel lifted +0.4% to C8.95 cents.
Westjet (WJI) has signed a contract with tour operator Thomas Cook Canada to transport its passengers on a variety of its routes from Canada to the Caribbean and Mexico next winter. Thomas Cook (JMA)/(GUE) had previously announced to give up its own operations where it had deployed six 757-200s operated by Jazz Air (ACN) on these routes each winter.
(WJI) has signed a letter of intent (LOI) to buy 20 Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 turboprops. The deal also includes options on a further 25 airplanes. (WJI) said the airplanes will be operated by its new regional airline, which is expected to launch in the second half of 2013.
It will fly the DHC-8-Q400 on new city routes as well as on existing destinations not currently connected by (WJI). (WJI) expects to announce its initial regional schedule in 2012.
(WJI) had considered the DHC-8-Q400 and the ATR72-600 for its new regional carrier, which has not yet been named.
May 2012: Westjet (WJT) launched daily seasonal, Vancouver - Whitehorse (Yukon's capital city) service connecting with its onward network. (WJI) adds services to Chicago O’Hare from Calgary and Vancouver. (WJI) launched a new route from Toronto Pearson Airport in Canada to Aruba in the Caribbean. (WJI) expanded in the Caribbean with services from Toronto Pearson to Kingston in Jamaica.
June 2012: WestJet (WJI) launched 7X-daily, Toronto - New York LaGuardia service, becoming 8X-daily on July 12.
China Eastern Airlines (CEA) and WestJet (WJI) have announced a code share agreement under which (CEA) will place its code on (WJI) service within North America.
(WJI) has signed a conditional order for 20 Bombardier (BMB) DHC-8-Q400 turboprops following last month’s letter of intent (LOI) to purchase the airplanes for its new regional affiliate. The transaction also includes 25 options.
The order is valued at approximately $683 million, which could increase to approximately $1.59 billion if the 25 options are converted to firm orders, according to a Bombardier (BMB) statement.
(WJI) is set to launch a regional airline in the second half of 2013 to underserved regional airports. “Our launch plans are progressing nicely and we look forward to expanding to new communities when we launch in the second half of 2013,” (WJI) President & (CEO), Gregg Saretsky said.
August 2012: WestJet (WJI) reported second-quarter net income of +C$42.5 million/+$42.4 million, up +65.9% over a +C$25.6 million net profit in the prior-year period. It also announced it will move away from a one-class passenger product by introducing a premium economy (PY) section in the cabins of its 737NGs next year.
President & (CEO), Gregg Saretsky said in a statement, “Momentum continues at WestJet (WJI) and we are very pleased with the operating margin expansion achieved again this quarter.” In its 29th straight quarter in the black, (WJI) said it achieved an operating margin of 8.7%, up +1.8 points year-over-year.
(WJI) noted its new premium economy (PY) section will feature “four rows of extra legroom seating with 36 inches of pitch and convenience features such as priority boarding as well as complimentary on-board amenities.” It said modifications will start this month with the fleet to be “fully reconfigured” by year end. As part of the reconfiguring, (WJI) said it will also standardize the seat pitch from 31 inch to 32 inch on all economy (Y) seats.
“We believe that both business and leisure guests will appreciate the added value a premium economy (PY) product will offer and look forward to providing further details as we roll it out early next year,” Saretsky said.
He added that (WJI) firmed its order with Bombardier (BMB) for 20 DHC-8-Q400s to be used to launch a new regional airline in the second half of 2013. Seven DHC-8-Q400s are slated for delivery next year, followed by seven in 2014, four in 2015 and two in 2016.
(WJI)’s second-quarter revenue rose +9% year-over-year to C$809.3 million, while expenses grew +6.9% to C$738.8 million, producing an operating profit of +C$70.5 million, up +37.4%. Second-quarter traffic heightened +7.4% to 4.4 billion (RPM)s on a +2.9% increase in capacity to 5.39 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 81.6% LF, up +3.5 points.
September 2012: WestJet (WJI) entered into a code share agreement with British Airways (BAB), effective immediately. The (BAB) code will be placed on select (WJI) flights connecting from Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto to Ottawa, Edmonton and Victoria.
The agreement with (BAB) is the eighth signed since September 2011 by (WJI). (WJI) has initiated code shares with American Airlines (AAL), Cathay Pacific (CAT), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Japan Airlines (JAL), (KLM), and Korean Air (KAL).
(BAB) Director Strategy & Business Units, Lynne Embleton said the partnership “will enable easier travel from Canada’s gateway cities to destinations that have been more difficult to access from the UK.
(WJI) is the second largest airline in Canada. It flew 2.6 billion (RPK)s traffic in July for a combined total of 10.7 billion (RPK)s for the first seven months of 2012.
Canada’s two largest carriers, Air Canada (ACN) and WestJet (WJI), are voicing no concerns about declining demand even as some indicators show that high debt levels and high unemployment rates are weakening Canadian consumer confidence. If that weakness intensifies, both carriers could face significant headwinds in 2013 as they endeavor to launch new airlines to broaden their reach into new markets. If domestic conditions worsen, it could affect the necessary cash flow generation required by those airlines to support the launch of their new business platforms.
October 2012: WestJet (WJI) launched three new seasonal winter sunshine routes from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) on 28 and 29 October. All are scheduled to operate with 136Y-seat 737-700s until the end of April. (WJI) now serves the Caribbean island Antigua (ANU) and Liberia (LIR) in Costa Rica with each twice-weekly frequencies, while Curacao (CUR) (also in the Caribbean) is served on a weekly basis. Air Canada (ACN) competes on two of the routes; with also twice-weekly operations to Antigua, but only one weekly flight to Liberia.
(WJI) has named its new regional airline "WestJet Encore." WestJet Encore will launch in the second half of 2013 to underserved regional airports.
In June, (WJI) signed a conditional order for 20 Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 turboprops for the new carrier, in an order valued at approximately $683 million, which could increase to approximately $1.59 billion if the 25 options are converted to firm orders.
(WJI) said it will announce a schedule for WestJet Encore, including the first group of communities it will serve, in early 2013.
November 2012: (WJI) has decided to base its regional turboprop subsidiary, set to launch next year, in its home market of Calgary. (WJI) had also considered basing the regional, named Encore, in the eastern half of the country, with Toronto a strong candidate. Encore will operate with a fleet of Bombardier DHC-8-Q400s and plans to take delivery of five of the turboprops before launching services.
While Encore eventually plans to have a network encompassing the whole of Canada, (WJI) Public Relations (PR) Manager, Robert Palmer previously said that it will focus on building services on one side of the country first (which will likely now be western Canada). “We’re not going to do the one-one-one [airplane] thing [dividing between east and west] because you can’t build a network that way,” he explained. “Realistically, it will be 12 to 18 months from the first launch before we have a critical mass of airplanes flying on both sides of the country.”
He said 40 communities across Canada are interested in services. “The location of the headquarters will not determine where the airline’s operations will begin next year,” (WJI) said. A list of the first set of destinations to be served by (WJI) will be announced in early 2013. Encore will serve smaller Canadian cities and connect passengers to (WJI)’s 737NG network operating out of major Canadian airports.
(WJI) anticipates building a 40,000 sq ft facility encompassing maintenance and office space for Encore at Calgary Airport. “Encore” will be largely sublimated to the WestJet (WJI) brand. “Your booking will still be with (WJI),” Palmer said. “The livery will be precisely the same. You won’t see any difference between the DHC-8-Q400 livery and the [current] 737 livery [except for a small Encore insignia near the airplane’s door]. It makes sense to migrate the entire experience associated with the (WJI) brand to the regional airline.”
WestJet (WJI) continued to launch routes geared at sun-starved Canadians. On November 2, (WJI) commenced services from Calgary (YYC) to Manzanillo (ZLO) on the central Pacific coast of Mexico. On the following day, Thunder Bay (YQT) was linked with Cancún (CUN) in the north-east of the Yucatán Peninsula. In addition, also on November 3, (WJI) inaugurated services from Kelowna (YLW) to Los Angeles (LAX). All 3 routes are offered with weekly frequencies and operated with 737-700s; all will terminate in late April.
(WJI), which recently added 3 Caribbean destinations to its Toronto Pearson (YYZ) network, launched yet another winter sun route on November 16. Daily flights on the 4,100 km route from Canada’s largest city to Port of Spain (POS) will operate seasonally until April 27 and be operated using 737-700s. Peter Tong, (WJI)’s Director Schedule & Network Planning, said: “We’re very pleased to offer daily service to Trinidad and Tobago, especially as the islands celebrate the 50th anniversary of their independence.” Competition on the route comes from Caribbean Airlines (TTA)’s 12x-weekly flights.
December 2012: WestJet (WJI) further expanded its winter offering to sun-starved Canadians, as it launched 2 new seasonal routes from Montreal (YUL). On December 14, (WJI) started services to Providenciales (PLS) in the Turks & Caicos Islands, while on December 17, flights to St Maarten (SXM) in the Dutch Antilles commenced. Both routes are offered on a weekly basis and operated with 737-700s until late April 2013. Air Canada (ACN) provides competition on the route to Turks & Caicos, as it operates also weekly services.
(WJI) celebrated the 100th Next-Generation 737 to join its fleet. (WJI) began in 1996 with 3 737-200s serving 5 cities and has grown into Canada’s largest low-fare airline serving 81 destinations across Canada, the USA, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. With this delivery of a 737-800, (WJI)’s fleet now consists of 100 airplanes – all Boeing Next-Generation 737s.
January 2013: WestJet (WJI), which concentrates most of its winter sun routes in Toronto, inaugurated services to the Caribbean from nearby London (Canada) (YXU), as well as from Winnipeg (YWG) on 21 December. Cuban Varadero (VRA) and Mexican Los Cabos (SJD) are now each served from those two Canadian airports, both with weekly frequencies. In addition, (WJI) added Fort Myers, Florida (RSW) as its 5th trans-border destination from Ottawa (YOW) on December 22, and now serves it with also weekly frequencies. All of the newly launched routes are operated with 737-700s until late April.
WestJet (WJI) is looking to give Air Canada (ACN) a run for its money this year. The launch of a new regional feeder operation called "WestJet Encore" is sure to heighten domestic competition. Encore intends to reach smaller communities, and it says fares could dip -50% below those charged by rivals on comparable routes. Could a price war result? The answer to that will become apparent when Encore launches in the 2nd half of the year. One thing that does seem certain is WestJet (WJI)'s commitment to the venture, with 20 Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q400s on firm order and options for +25 more. (WJI) has been vocal about the advantages of Encore over competitors, but it will soon be up to consumers to decide.
February 2013: WestJet (WJI) posted a 2012 net profit of +C$242.4 million/+$242.8 million, up +63% from +C$148.7 million net income in 2011. Its 4th-quarter net income leapt +71.3% to +$60.9 million, on +10.1% higher revenues and a +54.6% lift in operating income.
During the year, it added +13 new interline partnerships and is preparing to launch WestJet Encore, a regional turboprop airline, in the 2nd half of 2013. It is to announce the carrier’s 1st route schedule in February 11. In 2013, the carrier plans to evolve 2 to 4 interline agreements into new code shares and pursue “a handful” of new interline relationships. “Our positive momentum continues into 2013 as we launch WestJet Encore, add to and evolve our airline partnerships,” (WJI) President & (CEO), Gregg Saretsky said.
(WJI)’s full-year revenue lifted +11.6% year-over-year to C$3.4 billion, on a +8.4% rise in expenses to C$3.05 billion. Operating profit jumped +46.5% to C$375.7 million.
Saretsky said the 4th quarter “was an incredibly tough quarter operationally.” (WJI) experienced “significant weather events,” at key domestic and international airports including 227 weather-related flight cancellations in December, compared to 45 in the year-ago month. These weather events contributed to a -13.9 point decline in its 4th-quarter on-time performance to 64%.
Full-year traffic lifted +8.1% to 18.26 billion (RPM)s on +4.1% growth in capacity to 22.06 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 82.8% LF, up +3.1 points. Yield grew +3.2% year-over-year to C$0.188. (RASM) was up +7.1% year-over-year to C$0.155 and (CASM) rose +4.1% to C$0.138. In the 2013 1st quarter, (WJI) said it expects moderate (RASM) growth and margin expansion. For the full-year, it forecasts (CASM), excluding fuel and employee profit share, to increase +2% to +3% year-over-year.
WestJet (WJI)'s new regional carrier "Encore" is expected to compete with Air Canada (ACN) for the same traffic in Western Canada. Encore is looking to stimulate traffic through offering attractive prices, said (WJI) Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Vito Culmone during a 25 February investor conference.
(WJI) had planned to introduce Encore's initial routes in late January, but that announcement has been pushed back to sometime later in this month.
WestJet Encore (based at Calgary International (YYC)) has announced its initial regional routes that it plans to serve with the 1st of the 20 Dash 8-400s it has on order. It plans to launch operations on June 24 introducing new daily services from Calgary International (YYC) to Fort St John (YXJ) and Nanaimo (YCD), and from Vancouver International (YVR) to Fort St John and Victoria International (YYJ), to the WestJet ((IATA) Code: WS, based at Calgary International (YYC)) network. From August 15, WestJet Encore will also introduce a new non-stop service from Calgary to Grande Prairie (YQU) complementing existing 1-stop services via Edmonton International (YEG). Fort St John and Nanaimo are new destinations to the WestJet (WJI) network but WestJet Encore will also replace or increase mainline frequencies on several routes already served from Calgary and Edmonton.
March 2013: Air France (AFA) and WestJet (WJI) have entered a code share agreement offering (AFA) customers 10 new Canadian cities flown by (WJI). “(WJI) and (AFA) have had an interline agreement since July 2009 and we are very pleased to see this evolve to a code share” (WJI) VP Network Planning, Alliances & Corporate Development, Chris Avery said.
The AF code is now on select WestJet (WJI) flights connecting from Toronto to Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Quebec City, Saint John’s, Moncton, and Halifax. Winnipeg and Calgary flights also have AF codes for both Toronto and Montreal connections to (AFA) direct flights to Paris.
This is the 9th code share for (WJI), which also has 21 interline relationships.
April 2013: WestJet (WJI) commenced operations on the 2,500 km route from Calgary (YYC) to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) on April 29th. (WJI), which already operates 9 other trans-border routes from Calgary, offers daily flights on the new route. American Airlines (AAL) provides competition in the market from Calgary to (DFW), which it serves with 2x-daily flights
(WJI) began code sharing on American Airlines (AAL) flights beyond Dallas/Fort Worth to Albuquerque, Austin, Nashville, Charlotte, Fort. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Orlando, Miami, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Raleigh-Durham, San Antonio, St Louis, Tampa Bay, and Tulsa. Also, Chicago - Charlotte and – Fort Myers flights will also operate under the code share.
Icelandair (ICE) and WestJet (WJI) have signed an interline agreement. (ICE) passengers will be able to potentially connect to >80 (WJI) cities in the Americas and the Caribbean, and (WJI) passengers will gain access to >20 (ICE) destinations throughout Europe.
Passengers will be able to connect to each carrier’s flights in Toronto and Halifax, to which Reykjavik-based (ICE) provides seasonal services.
May 2013: Mainly due to its new interline/code share partners, Westjet (WJI) now has sold tickets to 130 destinations worldwide.
(WJI) added Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (MYR) as the 9th USA destination it offers from Toronto (YYZ) on May 2nd. A low-frequency schedule is offered on the 1,100 km route, on which weekly flights are operated using 737s.
Situated in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is perhaps best known for its annual rodeo, the Calgary Stampede or “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” – held every July and which sees nearly one million people flock to the largest city in the province of Alberta. Offering the 5th largest metropolitan area in Canada, with just over one million inhabitants, Calgary became the 1st Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games in 1988.
Calgary is served by Canada’s 4th largest airport, with annual passenger traffic closing in on 14 million, with the airport itself predicting on its website that if it maintains its current 2.9% monthly growth rate (taken from the 1st 2 months of 2013 data), it will just sneak past the 14 million mark come December 31st. With a gap of just over >150,000 annual passengers between it and the #3 airport (namely Montréal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport) and a faster growth rate in 2012 (+6%), the next 12 months could see the 2 rivals switch positions. This would seem to be a likely event, as Calgary’s 2013 growth rate of +2.9% so far, is outstripping that of its Quebec-based cousin, which has had a flat start to 1st 2 months of the year, posting passenger growth figures of -0.8%.
Most airlines prefer flat seasonal variations in passenger demand, as it is then easier for them to plan their annual capacity over the year. Calgary has set a standard for others to follow.
SEE ATTACHED "Innovata" chart provided by anna.aero - - "WJI-2013-05 - CALGARY AIRPORT TOP 12 ROUTES."
Calgary’s top 12 routes see connections to 3 airports within the province of Alberta, including the 250 km hop (in Canadian terms at least) up the Calgary - Edmonton Corridor to Edmonton (plus (YMM) and (YQL)). The remainder of the top 12 city pairs cover 3 destinations in British Columbia, including the #1 route to Vancouver (plus YLW and YYJ), 2 to the Province of Saskatchewan (YQR and YXE) and 2 internationally to the USA (IAH and ORD), and with 1 apiece for Ontario (YYZ) and Manitoba (YWG).
Weekly flights to Chicago have increased by nearly +60% in the last 12 months, resulting in the USA airport moving up from 18th spot in May 2012, to 11th this May. Not only did the incumbent on the route, United Airlines (UAL, increase its weekly schedule from 26 to 34 flights in that period, but WestJet (WJI) has also started daily operations on the city pair too. Conversely, Air Canada (ACN)/Jazz Air’s weekly services to Saskatoon have been slashed versus the same month in the previous year, trimmed back from 39x-weekly flights to 26, with (WJI) maintaining it 4x-daily operation. However, despite the frequency cull, (ACN)’s seat capacity has fallen back by less than 1%, as its 50-seat CRJ flights have been replaced by the larger capacity offered by its 74-seat Dash 8-Q400s.
Following on from its entry into the Calgary - Chicago market last year, the Calgary-headquartered, WestJet (WJI) has continued its USA expansion drive from its 2nd most important hub (marginally behind its Toronto operation) just last month, following the introduction of a daily run to Dallas/Fort Worth beginning on April 29.
Calgary airport will also be a focal point for (WJI)’s new regional subsidiary, WestJet Encore, which launches on June 24 this year, and will inaugurate operations to 3 new destinations from Calgary this summer too.
(WJI) launched 2x-weekly, Toronto - Myrtle Beach service.
(WJI) announced its “best ever quarterly earnings for the 3rd consecutive quarter” it entered into an agreement with Boeing (TBC) to purchase 10 737-800 NextGen airplanes in 2014 and 2015.
June 2013: WestJet (WJI) has taken delivery of its first of 20 Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q400 NextGen turboprops, the 2 companies announced. The airplanes will be operated by the new regional carrier WestJet Encore, and will serve multiple destinations, beginning in Western Canada in its 1st year of service. (WJI) also holds 25 Dash 8-Q400 options.
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft (BMB) President, Mike Arcamone said this “very versatile airplane is efficient on short-haul missions or can use its speed to reach regional destinations farther afield, making it competitive with jets on longer sectors — a perfect fit for WestJet (WJI).”
WestJet (WJI) will begin Encore service on June 24, opening new routes to Fort St John and Nanaimo, British Columbia, as well as Brandon, Manitoba, on September 3. Flights to points in Alberta and Saskatchewan will be added later this year, along with additional flights to cities already served by (WJI).
Bombardier (BMB) said it has booked firm orders for 468 Dash 8-Q400s.
Later, Transport Canada issued an air operator certificate (AOC) for WestJet Encore, clearing the way for the new regional affiliate of Calgary-based WestJet (WJI) to launch operations on June 24.
(WJI), an all Boeing 737-operator, decided last year to launch a turboprop regional subsidiary to serve smaller Canadian markets unsuited for 737 services and to feed its mainline network. It placed a firm order for 20 Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s for Encore and also took 25 Dash 8-Q400 options.
It received its first Dash 8-Q400 (4441, C-FHEN) earlier this month and plans to launch operations with two of the turboprops. Encore will be focused on western Canadian routes initially, but eventually WestJet (WJI) envisions the regional covering eastern Canada as well.
July 2013: WestJet (WJI) has reported 2nd-quarter net income of +C$44.7 million/+$42.5 million, up +2.6% from +C$42.5 million in the year-ago quarter.
(WJI) increases 4x-weekly, Vancouver - Hawaii service to daily on December 12. (WJI) will begin 2x-weekly, Calgary - Honolulu and 4x-weekly, – Maui seasonal service from December 13 - April 26 with 2 leased 757-200s from Thomas Cook Airlines (JMA)/(GUE). It will also offer 3x-weekly, Edmonton - Maui service.
WestJet (WJI) Encore has signed a long-term component maintenance contract with Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) to support its fleet of Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q400s.
(WJI) launched its Encore turboprop regional subsidiary last month. The regional carrier is using Dash 8-Q400s to connect smaller Canadian destinations to the mainline WestJet (WJI) network. (WJI) ordered 20 Dash 8-Q400s plus 25 options and envisions Encore eventually covering all of Canada, though it is now focused on western Canada operations.
Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) will provide component repair and pool access support for WestJet (WJI) Encore’s Dash 8-Q400s under a multi-year agreement. “Lufthansa Technik will maintain components removed from WestJet Encore airplanes and provide replacements from its extensive pool of Dash 8-Q400 stock. All logistics and transportation will be handled by Lufthansa Technik. Also, as part of the agreement, Lufthansa Technik will create a new pool of Dash 8-Q400 stock in North America.”
WestJet Encore started scheduled operations on June 24, and it operates 2 Dash 8-Q400s in its active fleet. But the carrier has +18 more on firm order, and holds options for a further 25.
August 2013: WestJet (WJI) said it has entered into a code share agreement with China Southern Airlines (GUN) and will now begin marketing and distributing WestJet (WJI)-operated flights. Under the agreement, China Southern (GUN) will place its CZ code on select (WJI) flights connecting between Vancouver and Edmonton, Kelowna, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Prince George, Calgary, Toronto, and Regina.
The code share agreement builds on a March 2013 interline agreement between the two carriers. “Our new code share agreement with WestJet will enhance the value and customer service China Southern Airlines provides to our passengers while also contributing to our growth strategy,” China Southern Senior VP International Affairs & Alliances Zhao Xiaosong said. “Ultimately, this partnership will allow us to provide more products and choices to all our passengers, and enhance our influence in the Sino-Canada market.”
(WJI) will begin 2x-weekly, Calgary - Honolulu and 4x-weekly, – Maui seasonal service from December 13 - April 26 with 2 leased 757-200s from Thomas Cook Airlines (JMA)/(GUE). (WJI) will also offer 3x-weekly, Edmonton - Maui service.
WestJet (WJI) has encountered issues with the soft launch of its new "Plus" seating product and is working to resolve them ahead of an official roll-out planned for August 17, said (WJI)'s (CEO), Gregg Saretsky. "With the benefit of hindsight, I'd say we made two big mistakes. One, we didn't differentiate the brand in the cabin, so to the uninformed guest, the Plus section looked just the same as any other section."
As a result, customers were sitting in the seats with the extra pitch because it was not clear that the Plus seats were different than the standard economy (Y) offering. "The second thing is, we really didn't tell guests what Plus was all about," he said. "It was a soft launch, so they got on board, they didn't know what it was, the cabin wasn't branded, they saw the empty seats there and they just thought they'd sit themselves down and take advantage of some of the extra elbow room," he said.
Flight attendants (CA) were put in a "very awkward and untenable position," where they had to either tell the customers to move or charge them an upgrade fee for the seats. "It wasn't pretty, we apologise to our guests and our flight attendants (CA) for that, but we'll have that fixed for August 17," said Saretsky.
One way of clearing up the confusion is by differentiating the Plus section of the cabin with different types of furnishings to show that the section is different than regular economy (Y). These changes will be implemented on the airplanes for the official August 17 roll-out and introduced with other perks such as free food and drinks.
(WJI) has also chosen to remove the six emergency exit-row seats from its dedicated premium economy (PY) fare offering but will sell them in advance through its website as part of a regular fare to allow more people access to the 36 inch pitch the seats provide. The standard seat pitch on (WJI)'s 737 fleet is 31 or 32 inches.
The premium economy (PY) section will now be comprised of three rows with 18 total seats instead of four when the emergency exit seats are kept as a part of the regular cabin.
(WJI) says that shortly after the August 17 launch, it will start selling upgrades of unoccupied Plus seats 24 hours in advance of each flight. These prices of the seats will vary depending on how many other Plus seats have been filled, the stage length of the flight and the route, says Bob Cummings, (WJI)'s VP Sales, Marketing & Guest Experience.
"From a revenue management and pricing perspective, we will be endeavoring to fill as much of those 18 seats as possible," says Cummings, noting that (WJI) has a goal of filling at least 6 of the 18 seats with people on each flight.
(WJI) is expecting its fare bundles to produce C$20 million/$19.4 million to C$30 million in incremental revenues in 2013 and between C$50 million and C$80 million annually, once fully rolled out.
In April, (WJI) did a quiet launch of its new 3-tier fare bundling program and offered the Plus seats through same-day upgrades for a fee starting at C$45. It has been waiting to officially launch the premium economy (PY) section until it finished the 2nd phase of a technology upgrade.
In November, WestJet (WJI) announced it would complete its seat configuration project by the first quarter of 2013 instead of the end of 2012 as previously planned, and (WJI) announced that the retrofits had been completed in March 2013. However, it has waited to officially offer the premium economy (PY) seats until completing the last phases of the new technology behind the three-tier system, which includes varying levels of flexibility. The no-frills "econo" fare is the least expensive, followed by the mid-level "flex" fare. The "plus" fare seats offer maximum flexibility and are targeted at business travellers.
Westjet (WJI) announced the signing of a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase 65 737 MAX airplanes, a deal worth $6.3 billion at current list prices.
The order consists of 40 737 MAX 8s and 25 737 MAX 7s. (WJI) expects to sign a firm purchase agreement for the airplanes in September.
All of the airplanes will be powered by the (CFM) International (Leap-1B) engines, which come standard on the 737 MAX. (WJI) will begin taking delivery of the 737 MAX in 2017.
See video "WJI - CANADA TRAVEL GUIDE" - -
September 2013: WestJet Encore has launched a new route between Calgary (YYC) in Alberta, and Brandon (YBR) in Manitoba. Flights operate daily using the airline’s 78Y-seat Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s. Until now, Brandon’s scheduled services were limited to weekday flights to Dauphin and Winnipeg, operated by Perimeter Aviation with much smaller Fairchild Swearingen Metro turboprop airplanes. WestJet Encore’s service will increase the weekly scheduled seat capacity at the airport 6-fold. Although Brandon is Manitoba’s second biggest city, it is only around 200 km from Winnipeg.
While the USA regional market has seen the consolidation of many carriers into fewer companies over the last few years, the Canadian regional market is experiencing a different trend: diversification.
The most prominent example of this new competition is WestJet’s new regional carrier, Encore, which entered the market on June 24.
Encore seeks to stimulate traffic with competitive fares in markets primarily served by its domestic competitor, Air Canada Express. (WJI)’s (CEO), Gregg Saretsky expects this to bring prices for flights down by 30 to 50% in some markets.
(WJI) has estimated the potential market for regional flying for airplanes with more than >50 seats within Canada and to the USA at Canadian dollar C$2.1 billion (comprised of C$1.1 billion domestically and C$1 billion for trans-border routes).
Along with providing new links between underserved markets in western Canada, (WJI)’s management has indicated it intends to expand the carrier to the eastern part of the country by early to mid-2015. This will increase competition against not only Air Canada Express, but Porter Airlines and USA carriers vying for the competitive trans-border market on the east coast of the USA.
WestJet (WJI) has signed a definitive purchase agreement with Boeing (TBC) for 40 737 MAX 8 and 25 737 MAX 7 airplanes. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in September 2017. “The documents are signed, it’s official! We’re delighted to confirm our order for 65 737 Max airplanes,” (WJI) announced.
The statement follows (WJI)’s August 29 letter of intent (LOI) for the purchase 65 737 MAX airplanes, comprising 40 737 MAX 8s and 25 737 MAX 7s. The company said in an earlier statement the pending order is a key component of (WJI)'s strategy to optimize and modernize its fleet.
The WestJet (WJI) order continues the momentum of the 737 MAX in the marketplace. The order brings the total number of 737 MAX orders to date to 1,567 airplanes.
SEE ATTACHED - - "WJI-2013-10 - 757 TO HAWAII" which details 2 757-200S leased from Thomas Cook Airlines (JMC)/(GUE) for WestJet (WJI) winter season non-stop links to Hawaii using its sister company WestJet Vacations for services to the islands of Oahu and Maui.
October 2013: After spending much of 2012 battling labor groups to forge contracts with more favorable terms, including the establishment of its new low-cost carrier (LCC) Rouge, Air Canada (ACN) is enjoying a more peaceful 2013, reflected most recently in its downward revision of cost guidance for the year. At the same time, its stock has more than tripled during the past year as it intensifies its attempts to create a lasting business model.
After touting the highly anticipated launch of its new regional carrier, Encore throughout 2012, (ACN)’s rival WestJet (WJI) has encountered some headwinds in 2013 as its yields and unit revenues have come under pressure and its own capacity additions and an overall increase in domestic supply in Canada have pressured its yields and unit revenue.
As both carriers march towards reporting 3rd Quarter 2013 earnings, Air Canada (ACN) might be beginning to get some traction in its efforts to transform its legacy business model. WestJet (WJI), meanwhile, has warned of continued unit revenue degradation during 3rd Quarter 2013 as it also works to beat back the inevitable cost creep associated with a certain level of maturity.
WestJet Encore has replaced parent company WestJet (WJI) on the route from Calgary (YYC) to Kamloops (YKA) in British Columbia. On October 27th, (WJI)’s daily 737 service was replaced by WestJet Encore’s 2x-daily, Dash 8-Q400 service on the 450 km connection. Competition is provided by Air Canada (ACN), who also operate 2x-daily flights using turboprop airplanes, operated by Jazz Air.
WestJet (WJI) has begun serving Miami (MIA) from its main base in Calgary (YYC). The 4,000 km route will initially be served with 4x-weekly flights using the airline’s 737-700s, rising to 6 in mid-December. No other carrier serves this route at present. This will be (WJI)’s 2nd service to the Florida airport, as it already operates daily flights from Toronto. Miami becomes (WJI)’s 13th route to the USA from Calgary, as it already serves 6 destinations year-round, as well as 6 destinations (Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Maui, Newark, San Francisco) on a seasonal basis.
November 2013: WestJet (WJI) has reported 3rd-quarter net income of +C$65.1 million/+$63.1 million, down -7.8% from +C$70.6 million in the year-ago quarter.
(WJI), which has 20 Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s on firm order, is planning to firm up most of its 25 options for its WestJet Encore regional.
WestJet Encore increased its offering in Canada on November 25th with 2 new routes from Vancouver (YVR). The regional subsidiary airline of WestJet (wji) introduced a daily service to Kamloops (YKA) and 2x-daily flights to Terrace (YXT), both utilising its Dash 8-Q400s. Having begun operations in June, and with Terrace welcoming its 1st flight from the (LCC), (WJI) President & (CEO), Gregg Saretsky said: “We are very pleased with the overwhelming community support WestJet Encore has received, as we give even more Canadians access to lower fares, stimulate demand in smaller communities, and repeat (WJI)’s success in the regional space.” Encore faces direct competition on both routes. On the Kamloops sector, this comes from Central Mountain Air (weekly) and Air Canada (ACN) (47x-weekly), with the same 2 carriers providing the competition to Terrace, with 18x-weekly and 27x-weekly respectively, in addition to Hawkair Aviation Services (24x-weekly), which also serves this connection.
December 2013: WestJet ((IATA) Code WS, based at Calgary) (WJI) would operate 737 MAX airplanes from Toronto City Centre airport should it be granted takeoff and landing slots at the island airfield (CEO), Gregg Saretsky has said. Speaking to "Bloomberg" newswire, Mr Saretsky said the lack of slots at the airport was currently hampering his airline's expansion plans there. “We would like to have access to the island airport but there are no slots available. We would like to have the opportunity to fly jets ourselves from that airport. The 737 is capable of operating off the [1,219 m] runway at Billy Bishop.” In September, (WJI) placed an order with Boeing for 65 737 MAX airplanes due from 2017 on. Situated on a Lake Ontario island about 100 meters from Toronto’s downtown waterfront, Toronto City Centre airport currently restricts access to turboprop airplanes; a policy incumbent operator Porter Airlines ((IATA) Code: PD, based at Toronto City Centre) has been trying to overturn. Porter has been fighting Toronto City Council to expand the airport's facilities and runway to pave the way for it to operate its planned fleet of CS100s. City Council has deferred voting on the issue until early 2014 citing a lack of funding and information.
Westjet (WJI) currently operates 107 airplanes, to 20 countries, 88 destinations on 285 routes and 513 daily flights.
January 2014: The Air Transport World (ATW) Magazine announced it had awarded Westjet (WJI) "Value Airline of the Year." WestJet (WJI) is not just Canada’s 2nd-largest airline with about a 40% market share, but it routinely is recognized as one of country’s top overall companies and has the kind of stellar customer service reputation that has eluded most North American airlines in recent years. It has invested $40 million on new Information Technology (IT) services in the last couple of years, creating an easy-to-use “digital store front” for its customers.
2013 was (WJI)’s 9th consecutive year of profitability (it even stayed in the black through the 2008 global financial crisis). For the full-year 2012, (WJI) earned a 13.7% return on invested capital.
WestJet (WJI) is a highly worthy recipient of (ATW)’s "Value Airline of the Year Award."
WestJet (WJI) begins 2x-weekly, Toronto - Myrtle Beach seasonal service earlier than planned, starting March 6 through October 23, 2 months early.
WestJet Encore began 2x-daily Winnipeg (YWG) - Regina (YQR) Bombardier Dash 8-Q400NG service. The 534 km sector was resumed after it was last operated 5 years ago and will be served 12x-weekly. This is Westjet Encore's 3rd route from Regina, as it also serves Edmonton and Calgary. It will face competition from Air Canada’s 18x-weekly flights.
February 2014: WestJet (WJI) is reporting net profits of +C$268.7 million/+$251.2 million for 2013, up +10.9% from 2012. (WJI)’s 4th-quarter net income increased +11.3% to +C$67.8 million, on +7.6% higher revenues and a +11% rise in operating income.
(WJI)’s full-year revenue increased +6.9% year-over-year to C$3.7 billion. Operating expenses rose +6.9% to C$3.3 billion, leading to operating profits of +C$400 million, up +6.3% year-over-year. “We had a great year in 2013,” (WJI) President & (CEO), Gregg Saretsky said, “with record earnings of C$2.03 per dividend share, up +14% year-over-year and a return on invested capital [ROIC] of 13.9%.”
(WJI)’s full-year traffic increased +7.3% to 19.59 billion (RPM)s; capacity grew +8.6% to 23.97 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 81.7% LF, down -1.1 points year-over-year. Yield slipped 0.4% year-over-year to C$0.186. (RASM) fell 1.6% year-over-year to C$0.152 and (CASM) also fell -1.6% to C$0.136. (CASM), excluding fuel and employee profit share slipped -0.7% year-over-year to C$0.906. Passengers rose +6.1% year-over-year, to 18.5 million.
During 2013, (WJI) launched its short-haul regional airline WestJet Encore. Encore took delivery of eight Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 NextGen airplanes and has made firm commitments to purchase 12 additional Dash 8-Q400s through 2015 with options for an additional 25 Dash 8-Q400 turboprops between 2015 and 2018.
In May, (WJI) agreed to sell Southwest Airlines (SWA) 10 of its oldest Boeing 737 NG airplanes in 2014 and 2015, while simultaneously agreeing to purchase 10 737-800s in 2014 and 2015. Additionally, in September, (WJI) agreed to purchase 65 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes, with firm commitments to take delivery of 25 737 MAX 7s and 40 737 MAX 8s between 2017 and 2027.
At the end of 2013, (WJI)’s fleet stood at 113 airplanes, an increase of 13 airplanes from 2012. In 2014, (WJI) will inaugurate its 1st transatlantic service with flights to Dublin.
Last month, Air Transport World (ATW) magazine named WestJet (WJI) as the "2014 Value Airline of the Year."
(WJI) signed a multi-year agreement with Panasonic Avionics to add wireless satellite-based in-flight connectivity to its fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 airplanes. Under the agreement, Panasonic will provide stored content streamed wirelessly from an onboard server to passengers' smart phones, tablets and laptops. Wi-Fi will also be available via Panasonic's Ku-band aeronautical satellite network.
"We know that roughly 75% of our guests are bringing their own devices on board today," said Marshall Wilmot VP Product & Distribution at WestJet (WJI). "They tell us they want the opportunity to connect to check their email, put the finishing touches on a presentation or keep in touch with family and friends."
According to (WJI), Panasonic will install the system on one of its Boeing 737s by the end of 2014 to allow for testing. (WJI) did not say when the service would be installed across its entire fleet.
March 2014: WestJet (WJI), which has 20 Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s on firm order, has converted 5 of its 25 options into firm orders. The airplanes are scheduled for delivery in the 2nd half of 2015; the 1st airplane will arrive in June 2015.
With the conversion of these options, (WJI) will have a fleet of 25 Dash 8-Q400s by the end of 2015. (WJI) has further options for 20 more Dash 8-Q400 airplanes between 2016 and 2018.
The airplanes will be used by all Dash 8-Q400 operation WestJet Encore, which launched operations in June 2013 as a feeder for (WJI)’s hubs. “From our fleet of 9 Dash 8-Q400s today, this growth will enable us to expand and strengthen our network,” WestJet Encore President Ferio Pugliese said. “These airplanes will serve new markets, increase frequencies between existing cities, and strengthen our network by creating new connections between existing markets and optimizing capacity by time-of-day. We also anticipate new transborder opportunities as we continue to grow.”
May 2014: WestJet (WJI) reported a 1st-quarter net profit of +C$89.3 million/+$81.4 million, down -2% from net income of +C$91.1 million in the prior-year period, when (WJI) posted its highest-ever March quarter earnings.
The 3-month period ended March 31 marked (WJI)’s 36th consecutive profitable quarter and the 7th straight quarter it has exceeded its 12% return on invested capital (ROIC) target. (WJI)’s (ROIC) for the 12 months ended March 31 was 13.7%.
President & (CEO) Gregg Saretsky said, “Our continued track record of profitability combined with strong liquidity and solid market position contributed to Standard & Poor’s assigning (WJI) an investment grade credit rating of BBB- this past February, placing us among the very few airlines in the world to be rated investment grade.”
(WJI)’s 1st-quarter revenue rose +7.7% year-over-year to C$1.04 billion, while expenses increased +9.1% to C$910.5 million, producing an operating profit of +C$131.6 million, down -0.6% from an operating profit of +C$132.4 million in the 2013 March quarter. Operating margin was 12.6%, down -1.1 points year-over-year.
WestJet (WJI)’s 1st-quarter traffic increased +6.4% to 5.42 billion (RPM)s on a +8% lift in capacity to 6.52 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 83.1% LF, down -1.2 points. Yield improved +1.2% to C$0.192.
(WJI) achieved strong financial results during its 1st quarter (1Q) 2014, despite challenges from currency fluctuations and the continued spool up of its regional subsidiary, Encore. Its previous warnings of cost creep came to fruition, but despite that, did not greatly diminish (WJI)’s top-line results.
(WJI) is citing sequential improvement in its unit revenue performance, which has been a drag on (WJI)’s performance during the last year as the airline has undertaken significant projects that it believes will ultimately shore up revenue over the long term. However, (WJI) is refraining from issuing definitive unit revenue guidance, and is only assuring the trend of improvement will continue.
As it works in the short term to restore unit revenue traction, (WJI)’s closely watched evaluation of creating a long-haul operation appears to be inching closer to reality as it works to put all the pieces in place to extend its business model on a broader international scale.
(WJI) expanded its seasonal offering with two new services from Calgary (YYC), both launched on April 27th and operated by the airline’s 119Y-seat 737-600s. With the longest sector being the 3,285 km service to New York (JFK), and the shortest being inaugurated to Prince George (YXS) at 663 km, both seasonal services are operated daily until October 25. WestJet (WJI) will face direct competition only on the domestic link to Prince George from Central Mountain Air’s six weekly operations. Furthermore, the service to the USA was switched from New York Newark. Commenting on the route launches, John Weatherill, Director Network & Schedule Planning, WestJet, said: “John F Kennedy International Airport is the busiest international passenger gateway in the United States and a hub for our USA partners, American Airlines (AAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL). With our (WJI) code on some 17 flights from (JFK), this new daily non-stop service from Calgary offers Canadians low fares and our remarkable guest experience to even more destinations around the world.” In addition, he also added: “Prince George is one of (WJI)’s early destinations and we are very grateful for the strong support of northern British Columbians over the past 15 years. Residents have asked for additional service and starting today, our guests will have the opportunity to take an early morning, 90 minute flight to Calgary and connect to 27 destinations throughout the WestJet (WJI) world. Whether heading south for a business meeting or a week-long vacation, we’re very pleased to offer our Prince George guests more connectivity than ever before.”
WestJet (WJI) has appointed Rocky Wiggins as Executive VP Chief Information Officer (CIO), effective June 2. Rocky is a former (CIO) of Sun Country Airlines (SCA) and Senior VP (CIO) at AirTran (CQT).
Transport Canada has cleared the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) by airline passengers “during all phases of flight.” The decision by the Canadian government aviation authority follows a similar relaxation of the rules governing the use of (PED)s on commercial flights made last year by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the (FAA).
Transport Canada said passengers on Canadian airlines will be able to use devices such as smartphones, cameras, electronic games, tablets and computers, “while an aircraft takes off, climbs, descends and lands, provided the device is in non-transmitting, or flight mode, and that their airline has met certain safety conditions outlined by Transport Canada.”
Calgary-based WestJet (WJI) said it expects passengers will be able to use (PED)s gate-to-gate by “early this summer.”
Montreal-based Air Canada (ACN) said it is “finalizing measures to safely implement the new procedures so customers can enjoy greater use of their (PED)s.”
Canadian Transport Minister, Lisa Raitt said, “By collaborating with our aviation partners, we are able to offer airlines the tools they need to safely enable passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED)s on airplanes, while still maintaining the highest standards of aviation safety.”
June 2014: In a role reversal that has transpired during the past year, WestJet (WJI) finds itself staving off cost creep, while its major rival, Air Canada (ACN) continues to enjoy benefits of its cost cutting initiatives, driven largely by adding seats to airplanes to operate more high-density jets.
But in addition to rising unit costs, WestJet (WJI) also faces some unit revenue pressure as the roll-out of its new subsidiary, Encore continues to weigh down the airline’s unit revenue performance. Even as (WJI) believes that positive unit revenue trends will continue, it is refraining from offering specific guidance on its unit revenue performance for Calendar Year 2014.
WestJet (WJI)’s restraint in supplying unit revenue guidance, could be an indication of its expectations that growth in that metric during 2014 could be scant. For the moment, it seems the Canadian domestic market is absorbing the capacity additions by Air Canada (ACN) and WestJet (WJI); but whether long-term pricing traction is achievable remains uncertain.
WestJet (WJI), which posted a +6.3% increase in passengers last year, has launched on June 15th, daily, Boeing 737-700 flights between St John’s, Newfoundland and Dublin, its 1st ever flight to Europe and its 1st-ever transatlantic service. The daily flights are to be operated until October 4th.
(WJI), the Calgary-based low-cost carrier (LCC), founded in 1996, operates an extensive network in Canada as well as flights to the USA, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Dublin is its 1st European destination and “represents a very significant strategic step in the growth of WestJet (WJI),” President & (CEO) Gregg Saretsky said. “The response on both sides of the Atlantic has been nothing short of phenomenal. With 1 in 5 Newfoundlanders able to trace their ancestry to Ireland, there is a great deal of travel between the 2 coasts, and we are very pleased to have made it more affordable.”
The 136Y seat 737-700 operating the daily route, will fly between Toronto Pearson (YYZ) via St John’s (YYT), enabling passengers to book same-airplane, one-stop service between Toronto and Dublin. While the daily flights (from St John’s will face no competition, the sector from Toronto Pearson is highly contested by Aer Lingus (ARL) (7), Air Canada (ACN) (6) and Air Transat (AIJ) (3).
The 2014 1st quarter marked WestJet (WJI)’s 36th consecutive quarterly net profit.
WestJet Encore, the turboprop regional affiliate of WestJet (WJI), will start eastern Canadian operations this month. Encore launched last June and has focused on western Canadian flights during its first year of operation. On June 27, it will expand to the eastern part of the country by launching 4x-daily service between Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Toronto. Encore operates an all-Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 fleet, connecting Canada’s smaller markets to WestJet (WJI) mainline’s Boeing 737NG network.
Encore will operate 13 Dash 8-Q400s by the end of this month and plans to operate a fleet of 25 Dash 8-Q400s by the end of 2015.
2 737-8CTs (39075, C-GWBU; 39076, C-FWJS), deliveries to (WJI) and 2 Dash 8-Q402s (4471, C-FOWE; 4473, C-FQWE) to WestJet Encore.
July 2014: WestJet’s (WJI)'s 2nd-quarter revenue grew +10.3% year-over-year to C$930.3 million and expenses increased +8.6% to C$851.9 million, producing operating income of +C$78.4 million, up +17.9% over an operating profit of +C$66.5 million in the 2013 June quarter.
Second-quarter traffic rose +5.5% year-over-year to 4.93 billion (RPM)s on a +5.2% increase in capacity to 6.19 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 79.6% LF, up +0.2 point. Yield increased +4.5% to C$0.189.
(WJI) expanded its seasonal offering with the launch of a new route from Fort McMurray (YMM) to Las Vegas, Nevada (LAS) on June 24th. (WJI) launched 2x-weekly services (Tuesdays and Saturdays) on the 2,306 km sector until October 25th, which is served utilizing its 174Y-seat 737-800s. There is no competition on WestJet (WJI)’s new airport pair.
(WJI), which originally had 20 Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q400s on firm order, has converted an additional five of its 25 options into firm orders, in a deal valued at approximately $167 million based on current list prices. The transaction follows the 1st conversion of 5 options announced in March, bringing the number of optioned aircraft exercised to 10. The original contract was announced in 2012. The airplanes will be operated by the new regional carrier WestJet Encore, which in June launched operations into eastern Canada.
(WJI) Executive VP Sales Bob Cummings said, “With 13 Dash 8-Q400 NextGen airplanes now in service in just over a year, (WJI) Encore’s inaugural year has been a success. We are marching toward connecting more Canadians from coast-to-coast to >85 cities we serve, as well as our growing network of interline and code share partners.”
WestJet Encore launched in June 2013 operating 10 departures daily to two destinations with 2 Dash 8-Q400 NextGen airplanes and 131 employees. Today, it operates 90 departures daily from hubs in Calgary, Alberta, and Toronto, Ontario to 19 destinations with 13 Dash 8-Q400 NextGen airplanes and approximately 500 employees. (WJI) has announced plans to introduce service to Quebec City, Quebec; Fredericton, New Brunswick, and Penticton, British Columbia in 2015.
(WJI) next year will start flying Boeing 767-300ERs, the 1st wide body airplane the low-cost carrier (LCC) will operate since its 1996 founding. The announcement about the 767s came as WestJet (WJI) reported 2nd-quarter net income of +C$51.8 million/+$47.9 million, up +15.9% over a net profit of +C$44.7 million in the prior-year period and the highest-ever June quarter profit in the (WJI)’s history.
“We’ve got some good momentum and we’re going to keep our foot on the accelerator,” (WJI) President & (CEO) Gregg Saretsky. (WJI) plans to grow system capacity +6% to +7% year-over-year for the full-year 2014.
(WJI) operates an all-737NG fleet on mainline flying and last year launched regional affiliate WestJet Encore, which operates Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s. It will take delivery of 4 767-300ERs by 2016, 2 of which will be operated on seasonal flights between Alberta and Hawaii starting in late 2015. In the 2016 summer, the 767-300ERs will be used “to expand overseas markets,” Saretsky said. (WJI) has not decided whether it will purchase or lease the 767s. “We’re not disclosing where they’re coming from other than to say that they’re used 767s that will be completely refurbished before going into service with WestJet (WJI),” Saretsky said.
Currently, (WJI) contracts the Thomas Cook (GUE)/(JMA) Group to operate 2 757-200s on seasonal Hawaii services, but that contract will expire in the spring of 2015 and (WJI) will operate its own 767s on Hawaii flights starting in the 2015 - 2016 winter season.
The (WJI) 767s will be configured with 262 seats. The Thomas Cook (GUE)/(JMA) 757s are configured with 211 seats. “We have absolutely no trepidation about our ability to fill 262 seats,” Saretsky said.
August 2014: WestJet (WJI) Encore begins daily, Comox - Calgary, Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 service on January 16, 2015.
September 2014: Westjet (WJI) is using its daily, seasonal flights from St John’s, Newfoundland to Dublin, Ireland as a testing ground for future European expansion, (WJI) (CFO) Vito Culmone said.
(WJI) will start charging a C$25/$22.55 fee for a first checked bag for flights booked starting September 15 for domestic Canadian or USA transborder travel from October 29.
The fee will not apply to those booking extra-legroom “plus” premium economy (PY) seats or to passengers purchasing a “flex” fare, which also has lower fees for changing or canceling a flight ticket. It will also not apply on international flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and Dublin.
(WJI) Executive VP Sales, Marketing & Guest Experience Bob Cummings said, “As we continue to evolve our fare products, we are creating more value by offering our guests the opportunity to purchase only those services they want. This user-pay type of system allows us to keep fares as low as possible, introduce lower sale fares and avoid fare increases.”
President & (CEO) Gregg Saretsky indicated (WJI) was considering bag fees during (WJI)’s second-quarter earnings conference call in July. “We see it as an opportunity to take our fares down,” Saretsky said. “We see this as a big revenue opportunity. I’m very bullish on the prospects for ancillary revenue.”
October 2014: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) will begin daily, Halifax - Glasgow seasonal service May 15th - October 23.
WestJet Encore, the Canadian regional operator, expanded its domestic offering from Calgary (YYC) on October 26th, when it launched two new services to Penticton (YYF) and Prince George (YXS). While both services are operated daily utilizing WestJet Encore’s 78Y-seat Dash 8-400s, WestJet Encore will face competition only on the 663 km route to Prince George, the “Northern Capital” of British Columbia, from Central Mountain Air’s 6x-weekly services.
News Item A-2: WestJet has reached a tentative agreement with flight attendants (CA), represented by the Flight Attendant Association Board (FAAB). A ratification vote begins November 10.
WestJet VP In-flight Tyson Matheson said, “We were looking to accomplish several ambitious goals with (WJI)’s 1st flight attendant (CA) agreement, including industry-leading total compensation with competitive work rules, standardized processes that flight attendants can trust, and a framework to continue open and honest dialogue between WestJetters. I believe we have met these goals.”
The (WJI) In-flight leadership team and the (FAAB) began negotiations in May to develop a tentative agreement to replace the flight attendants (CA)’s memorandum of agreement.
SEE WESTJET SAFETY VIDEO - -
November 2014: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) reported 3rd-quarter net income of +C$52.2 million/+$46.2 million, down -19.8% from a net profit of +C$65.1 million in the 2013 September quarter, but noted that operating margin improved +1.8 points year-over-year to 12.5%.
The net profit drop can be attributed to a one-time C$33.2 million special charge associated with the sale of 10 older 737s to Southwest Airlines (SWA). Net income, excluding special items, rose +31.2% year-over-year to +C$85.4 million.
(CFO) Vito Culmone did concede that the shorter stage lengths being operated by fast-growing regional affiliate WestJet Encore are negatively affecting the cost-conscious company’s (CASM) performance, warning that (CASM) ex-fuel, will be up +1% to +1.5% year-over-year for 2014 and increase another +2% to +3% in 2015. But demand for Encore is surging and (RASM) is rising, benefiting in particular from growing ancillary revenue, so (WJI) does not plan to raise fares to offset rising unit costs.
“I am loathe to take any fare increases,” (CEO) Gregg Saretsky told analysts and reporters, explaining that low fares are primarily what Canada’s second largest airline is known for. “We are all motivated to move fares down.”
(WJI) added checked bag fees October 29 on domestic and transborder flights that are expected to further boost ancillary revenue, which increased +17% year-over-year in the third quarter—prior to the bag fees’ imposition. (WJI) expects that 20% of its passengers will pay bag fees. (CEO) Gregg Saretsky said the “whole motivation for adding bag fees was to take our base fares down and you should continue to see them go down.”
WestJet Encore, the all-Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 regional affiliate launched in 2013, is spurring a good deal of (WJI)’s growth. Saretsky said passenger demand for Encore, which is extending (WJI)’s network to smaller markets across Canada, continues to grow by +30% to +60%. WestJet (WJI)’s overall system capacity is expected to increase +4% to +5% year-over-year in 2015 with half of the growth coming from Encore flying. “The WestJet (WJI) story for 18 years has always been adding capacity in a very prudent way,” Saretsky said.
(WJI)’s 3rd-quarter revenue lifted +9.2% year-over-year to C$1.01 billion, while costs rose +7% to C$883.9 million, producing operating income of C$125.8 million, up +27.1% over an operating profit of +C$99 million in the prior-year period.
Third-quarter traffic increased +6.8% year-over-year to 5.4 billion (RPM)s on a +6.4% rise in capacity to 6.5 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 83.1% LF, up +0.3 points. Yield improved +2.3% to C$0.187. (RASM) was up +2.6% to C$0.155 and (CASM) increased +0.6% to C$0.136. (CASM) excluding fuel and employee profit sharing lowered -0.7% to C$0.089.
News Item A-2: WestJet (WJI) began daily, Toronto - Phoenix service and also daily, Calgary - Penticton.
News Item A-3: WestJet (WJI) has reached a tentative agreement with pilots (FC) represented by the WestJet Pilot Association (WJPA). The new agreement will be available in December for (WJI) pilots (FC) to consider.
“We recommend this tentative agreement for our membership to review and vote on in December,” (WJPA) co-Chairs Michael Wesolowski and Paul Ysselmuiden said. “We are encouraged that through this agreement, (WJI) leadership has recognized the value that our pilots (FC) bring to the company’s overall continued success.”
News Item A-4: WestJet (WJI) flight attendants (CA) did not ratify the tentative agreement reached at the end of October. (WJI) flight attendants (CA) are represented by the Flight Attendant Association Board (FAAB). Even though voter turnout was 90%, 57% voted against the agreement.
(WJI) VP In-Flight Tyson Matheson said, “We are obviously disappointed with the results of the vote. We believe we brought forward an agreement that balanced the needs of our flight attendants (CA) with those of the business. I have no doubt that we will come together to resolve the issues that led to these results.”
(WJI) said its leadership team and the (FAAB) will regroup in the coming weeks, focusing on understanding their specific concerns and following the steps outlined in the dispute resolution process.
The 2 organizations began negotiations in May to develop a tentative agreement to replace the flight attendants (CA)’s memorandum of agreement.
December 2014: WestJet (WJI) pilots (FC) have ratified a new 4-year labor agreement, which includes enhancements to pay and scheduling that place (WJI)’s 1,250 pilots (FC) among the highest paid in the Canadian industry. The pilots (FC) are represented by the WestJet (WJI) Pilot Association.
The previous agreement expired April 30, 2013; the new agreement will expire April 30, 2019.
January 2015: News Item A-1: As it prepares to add 4 Boeing 767-300ER airplanes later this year, WestJet (WJI) cautions it is only “dipping a toe in the wide body waters” as it tests whether it wants to expand its international network.
News Item A-2: 737-8CT (60128, C-FUMF), ex-(N1795B), delivery.
February 2015: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) earned net income of +C$284 million/+$224 million in 2014, up +5.7% over a net profit of +C$268.7 million in 2013, and was in the black for the 39th quarter in a row in the 4th quarter.
(WJI) reported a return on invested capital (ROIC) of 14.3% for the 12 months ended December 31, 2014, an improvement over 2013’s 13.8% (ROIC) and the 10th straight quarter that ended with (WJI)’s 12-month (ROIC) exceeding its 12% goal.
(CFO) Vito Culmone pointed out to analysts and reporters that (WJI) has been profitable in 18 out of the 19 years it has existed. Operating margin for 2014 was 12%, up +1.1% point year-over-year.
(WJI)’s 2014 revenue rose +8.6% compared to 2013 to C$3.98 billion, while expenses increased +7.4% to C$3.5 billion, producing an operating profit of +C$475.5 million, up +19% over +C$399.5 million in operating income in 2013.
(WJI)’s 2014 traffic heightened +6.3% year-over-year to 20.83 billion (RPM)s on a +6.7% increase in capacity to 25.58 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 81.4% LF, down -0.3 point. Yield improved +2.1% to C$0.191. (WJI)’s 4th-quarter net profit of +C$90.7 million was up +33.8% over net income of +C$67.8 million in the 2013 December quarter.
WestJet Encore, the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 regional subsidiary launched in 2013, is now providing “coast-to-coast” coverage in Canada with 15 Dash 8-Q400s operating 110 daily departures, (CEO) Gregg Saretsky said.
(WJI) expects potentially big savings in 2015 owing to lower fuel prices. It has none of its fuel needs hedged and “we don’t foresee participating in any fuel hedging program” going forward, Culmone said.
Saretsky said lower fuel costs won’t necessarily mean lower fares. “We’re planning to hang on to as much of the benefit of the fuel price decline as possible,” he explained. “As long as the demand environment remains strong, we’re planning on letting [fuel savings] go right to the bottom line.”
News Item A-2: WestJet (WJI), the Canadian low-cost carrier (LCC), expanded its seasonal offering from Calgary (YYC) with the addition of Loreto (LTO) in Mexico on February 14th. The 2,799 km sector will be served weekly (Saturdays) until May 30th, utilizing the (LCC)’s 136Y-seat 737-700s. This route is not operated by any other carrier.
News Item A-3: WestJet Airlines (WJI)’s regional subsidiary, WestJet Encore has received all required approvals to fly to the USA, a move that should open new markets the carrier has been unable to serve, allowing it to more forcefully compete with Air Canada (ACN), company executives said.
WestJet Encore increased its presence at Kamloops (YKA), this time with a new service from Edmonton (YEG) on February 15th. The 552 km sector will be served daily, using the airline’s 78Y-seat Dash 8-400s. No other carrier serves this new route, but WestJet Encore is also flying to Kamloops from Calgary with 2x-daily flights.
News Item A-4: Dash 8-Q402 (4487, C-GWEF) delivery.
March 2015: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) says it will début wide body operations in December this year with flights between Alberta and Hawaii. The routes are currently operated with 757-200s wet-leased from Thomas Cook Airlines UK (JMA)/(GUE), though this contract is set to expire later this month.
(WJI) said that its incoming fleet of 4 767-300ERs will be deployed on flights from Calgary to Honolulu and Kahului, and from Edmonton International to Kahului.
"These airplanes will be redeployed in summer 2016 to new and exciting international destinations that will be announced later this year," Chris Avery, WestJet VP Network Planning, Alliances & Corporate Development, said.
As recently reported, the 1st of the 767s (an ex-Qantas (QAN) machine (25274, VH-OGJ) is set to be added to (WJI)'s Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) as (C-FOGJ) in due course. The 767s are configured with 24 seats in Plus and 238 seats in the main cabin.
Although (WJI) continues to explore the possibility of flying wide body airplanes to emerging markets in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East, (WJI) still believes it can make money by launching new service to Europe, despite considerable competition on many key routes.
News Item A-2: WestJet (WJI) (CFO) & Executive VP Finance Vito Culmone has resigned, effective May 29th. Culmone will be joining another Calgary-based organization in a similar capacity.
(WJI) President & (CEO) Gregg Saretsky said, “Vito has played a significant role in the growth and financial stability of our company for the past 8 years and will certainly be missed.”
Culmone joined (WJI) in March 2007 with responsibility for the overall financial management of WestJet (WJI) and its financial reporting, as well as for multiple corporate functions including controllership, treasury, investor relations, legal, purchasing, corporate real estate, and government relations.
(WJI) said it will now commence a search for a new (CFO).
May 2015: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) reported a net profit of +C$140.7 million/+$111.3 million for the 2015 1st-quarter, up +57.6% from a net income of +C$89.3 million in the 2014 March quarter.
WestJet (WJI)’s 1st-quarter diluted earnings per share came to C$1.09, up +58% year-over-year (YOY) and a quarterly record for the company. It was WestJet (WJI)’s 40th consecutive profitable quarter; its 12-month (ROIC) ended March 31 was 15.8%, up +1.5 points (YOY).
(WJI)’s 1st-quarter revenue was up +4% (YOY) to C$1.08 billion, as expenses decreased -2.7% (YOY) to C$886.3 million. (WJI)’s 1st-quarter operating profit came in at C$197.2 million, up +49.8% (YOY), and its operating margin was up +5.6 points (YOY), to 18.2%.
(WJI) reported ancillary revenue of C$83.1 million during the 1st-quarter, up +63.9% (YOY). On a per passenger basis, ancillary revenues were C$16.92 per customer, up +60.4% (YOY), contrasting with C$10.55 per customer in (1Q) 2014. WestJet (WJI) attributes the increase on (WJI)’s introduction in late 2014 of 1st bag fees on certain flights.
“We started 2015 with a record quarter, as we achieved our best ever quarterly net earnings and earnings per share,” (WJI) President & (CEO) Gregg Saretsky said, announcing a record profit share payout of C$49.8 million to the company’s 10,000 employees later this month.
(WJI)’s 1st-quarter traffic grew +2.8% (YOY) to 5.57 billion (RPM)s as capacity increased +4.7% (YOY) to 6.82 billion (ASM)s. The resultant load factor for the quarter was 81.6% LF, down -1.5 points (YOY). Yield improved +1.2% (YOY) to C19.47 cents.
News Item A-2: WestJet (WJI) has unveiled its new "#TartanTail," one of two Boeing Next-Generation 737s with a custom-designed tartan decal, to mark (WJI)'s new service between Halifax and Scotland launched May 29 .
See photo - - (WJI-2015-05 - Halifax to Scotland.jpg)."
News Item A-3: Saft’s new 435CH6 (ULM) battery has been approved to operate for 1,800 hours in flight before requiring maintenance as a result of a testing program aboard WestJet Encore’s Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s. The old batteries had to be serviced every 200 hours.
737-8CT (60132, C-FUCD, for WestJet (WJI) and 2 Dash 8-Q402 (4493, C-GWEU; 4496, C-FENJ) for WestJet Encore, deliveries.
June 2015: News Item A-1: Air Canada (ACN) will add London Gatwick to its network in spring 2016, a move, Canada’s largest carrier is making just as WestJet Airlines (WJI) enters the market.
Flights will be operated by Air Canada rouge, the low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary Air Canada (ACN) created to compete with WestJet (WJI), Air Transat (AIJ), and other Canadian charter carriers. Air Canada rouge will fly Boeing 767s with 24PY seats in a premium-economy section and 256Y seats in economy. The summer-only service begins on May 19, 2016.
The announcement comes 10 days after WestJet (WJI) said it would make London’s Gatwick Airport its 1st international Boeing 767 destination, with plans to fly there next spring. But (WJI) was short on the details, not saying from where in Canada it will fly, or how many flights it will add. (WJI) said it chose Gatwick because it is a relatively low-cost airport close to central London, that offers passengers many onward connections on other airlines.
WestJet (WJI) said it will decide what Canadian cities will see Gatwick service later this summer. It noted that the 767 has the range to fly to Gatwick from anywhere in Canada.
Air Canada (ACN) also said it will begin year-round mainline service between Montreal and Lyon, France, on June 16, 2016. Flights will be operated up to 5x-weekly on Airbus A330 airplanes with 37C flat-bed seats in business class and 228Y seats in economy.
News Item A-2: Bombardier (BMB) has delivered its 500th Dash 8-Q400 turboprop airplane to WestJet Encore. The milestone airplane is 1 of 36 ordered by WestJet Encore and its parent company WestJet (WJI).
News Item A-3: (WJI) has painted the tail of 737-7CT (35505, C-GQWJ) in a popular Scottish tartan pattern. It operates a new seasonal service to Glasgow, (WJT)'s 2nd European destination after Dublin (which began in June 2014). The flight departs from Toronto and makes a brief fuel stop in Halifax, before crossing the northern Atlantic Ocean - - see photo - - "WJI-737-7CT - 2015-06 To Glasgow.jpg."
July 2015: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) earned net income of +C$61.6 million/+$49.8 million in the 2nd quarter, up +18.9% from a net profit of +C$51.8 million in the 2014 June quarter, marking its 41st consecutive quarter in the black.
2nd-quarter yield did fall -4% year-over-year to C$0.181, owing in part to what (WJI) President & (CEO) Gregg Saretsky called “weaker than expected economic growth” in Canada. But (WJI) plans to grow capacity +4.5% to +5% year-over-year for the full year 2015, with half of that growth generated by Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 regional subsidiary WestJet Encore. “Encore is entering a lot of new markets,” Saretsky said. “These low fares [30% to 40% lower in smaller Canadian markets than before Encore entered] are stimulating demand incredibly.”
WestJet (WJI)’s 2nd-quarter revenue rose +1.3% year-over-year to C$942 million, while expenses decreased -1.2% to C$841.6 million, producing an operating profit of +C$100.4 million, up +28% over operating earnings of +C$78.4 million in the 2014 June quarter.
Second-quarter system-wide traffic increased +5.5% year-over-year to 5.2 billion (RPM)s on a +7.5% rise in capacity to 6.7 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 78.1% LF, down -1.5 points.
WestJet (WJI) reported a return on invested capital (ROIC) of 16% for the 12 months ended June 30, and raised its (ROIC) target from 12% previously to 13% to 16% going forward.
Encore, which launched in June 2013, is now providing coast-to-coast coverage in Canada and plans to start Dash 8-Q400 flights from Toronto and Halifax to Boston in March 2016, which will mark the regional subsidiary’s entrance into the USA market.
News Item A-2: WestJet Encore established a base at Halifax (YHZ) on July 15. The airline will operate services to Deer Lake (YDF), Gander (YQX) and Sydney (YQY). All flights will operate daily using the carrier’s 74-seat Dash 8-Q400s. The regional division of WestJet WJI) will also serve Ottawa and St Johns from Halifax, complementing the parent company’s daily 737-700 operations on the sectors. On the same day, (WJI) also launched a daily service from Ottawa to Moncton (YQM) in New Brunswick. The 855 km airport pair will face direct competition from Air Canada (ACN) and Porter Airlines.
The routes are as follows:
Halifax (YHZ) to Deer Lake (YDF), Dash 8-Q400 7x-, vs Air Canada (ACN), 33x-, to Gander (YQX), vs (ACN) 14x-, to Sydney (YQY) vs (ACN) 37x-;
Ottawa (YOW) to Moncton (YOM), Dash 8-Q400 7x-, vs Porter Airlines, 13x-, (ACN) 7x-.
737-8CT (39082, C-GXRW), ex-(N1798B), delivery.
August 2015: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) is introducing its "WestJet Connect" in-flight entertainment system (IFE), including wireless Internet connectivity for a C$7.99/$6.07 fee. "WestJet Connect" will be offered on all of (WJI)’s Boeing 767ERs and >30% of its Boeing 737NG airplanes by the end of this year. Completion of installation on the remaining 737s is expected in 2016.
Passengers will also be able to access WestJet Connect using their laptops. Tablet rentals will be available on flights >3 hours and 20 minutes for guests who do not have their own device.
News Item A-2: Pilots (FC) at WestJet Airlines (WJI) rejected union representation this week, ensuring Canada’s 2nd-largest carrier will remain union-free, at least for now.
News Item A-3: "WestJet (WJI) adds 1st Wide Body to Fleet with Delivery of Boeing 767-300ER" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, August 27, 2015.
WestJet (WJI) has taken delivery of its 1st Boeing 767-300ER, adding a wide body airplane to its fleet for the 1st time.
(WJI) has operated an all-737 fleet since its founding in 1996, and in 2013 launched a Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 regional subsidiary called WestJet Encore. (WJI) is slated to take delivery of 4 767-300ERs over the next 8 months, with the 4th expected to arrive just before it launches 767 flights to London Gatwick in May 2016.
The 1st (WJI) 767 will be used on flights between Toronto and Calgary for several months. The next 2 767s will arrive this fall, and (WJI) will launch 767 flights between western Canada and Hawaii, and between Toronto and Montego Bay for its winter schedule in December.
(WJI)’s 767s will seat 262 passengers, including 24PY in premium economy, but will have no first (F) or business (C) class seats. The airplane will be able to fly up to 11 hours. “The arrival of our 1st wide body airplane opens the next chapter in the evolution and growth of Canada’s low-fare leader,” (WJI) Executive VP Commercial, Bob Cummings said.
WestJet (WJI)) took delivery of its 1st of 4 ex-Qantas (QAN) 767-300ERs (25274, C-FOGJ) at a ceremony held at Calgary. The 4 767s will arrive separately over the next 8 months with (C-FOGJ) beginning Toronto Pearson - Calgary flights early next month.
The next 2 wide-bodies will arrive this autumn and will be used on flights from Calgary and Edmonton International in Alberta to Honolulu and Kahului in Hawaii, and from Toronto to Montego Bay in Jamaica this December.
The fourth and final 767-300ER will arrive next spring just in time for the launch of (WJI)'s new service to London Gatwick in May 2016.
News Item A-4: (WJI) currently operates 112 airplanes to 21 countries, to 99 destinations on 300 routes and 631 daily flights.
September 2015: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) launched services between Calgary (YYC) and Houston Intercontinental (IAH) on September 8. The 2,810 km sector will operate 6x-weekly, and will be flown using (WJI)’s 737-700s. Competition on the airport pair comes in the form of Air Canada (ACN) and United Airlines (UAL), both of which operate between the cities with a 20x-weekly service, and both co-operate on the route due to being Star (SAL) Alliance members.
News Item A-2: "WestJet to Fly to London Gatwick from 6 Canadian Cities" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, September 15, 2015.
WestJet (WJI) will operate flights to London Gatwick from Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, and St John’s starting in early May 2016.
(WJI) had previously announced it would fly to London Gatwick, but (WJI) revealed the specific routes and introductory fares on September 15. The flights will be operated with 767-300s, except for the St John’s - Gatwick flights, which will be operated with a 737-700. Introductory 1-way base fares plus taxes will range from C$199/($150) to C$299 as (WJI) attempts to lure passengers with low transatlantic fares.
“Canadians have been paying far too much to fly to Europe for far too long, and today, as we have throughout our history, we’re going to fix that,” (WJI) Executive VP Commercial Bob Cummings said. “We are offering nonstop flights at very low prices.”
The 767-300s will be configured with 262 seats including 24 seats in what (WJI) is calling a “Plus” section. “Seats in Plus on (WJI)’s Boeing 767 airplanes will be wider than the 737 airplane seats, arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration with an aisle separating each set of 2 seats,” (WJI) said. The Plus section will also include “premium hot meal selections,” (WJI) said.
From early May through October 2016, (WJI)’s service to London Gatwick from Toronto Pearson and St John’s will operate daily; from Vancouver 6x-weekly; from Calgary 5x-weekly; from Edmonton 2x-weekly; and from Winnipeg 1x-weekly. (WJI) did not reveal a schedule to London Gatwick beyond October.
(WJI) rival, Air Canada (ACN) has announced it will start Toronto Pearson - London Gatwick seasonal service in May 2016 with rouge 767s.
News Item A-3: WestJet (WJI) named Harry Taylor as Executive VP Finance & (CFO). Taylor comes from being Senior VP Finance at Canadian Tire Corporation. (WJI) also appointed Christopher Burley as an independent director to its board of directors. Burley is a director of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, where he is chair of the audit committee and the non-executive Chairman of Parallel Energy, a publicly traded oil and gas mutual fund trust. He spent >2 decades in the investment banking industry and was Managing Director & VP Energy at Merrill Lynch before his retirement in 2008.
October 2015: WestJet (WJI) operated its 1st Boeing 767-300ER flight on October 22, from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Calgary. The airplane features a new teal and blue maple leaf-themed logo, which will eventually appear on all (WJI) 262-seat 767-300s with a range of approximately 11 hours.
November 2015: News Item A-1: "WestJet Nearly Doubles 3Q Net Profit" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, November 4, 2015.
WestJet (WJI) reported a 3rd-quarter net profit of +C$101.8 million/+$75.9 million, nearly double net income of +C$52.2 million in the 2014 September quarter.
(WJI)’s 3rd-quarter revenue rose +3.5% year-over-year to C$1.05 billion, while expense increased +0.2% to C$885.5 million, producing an operating profit of +C$159.5 million, up +26.8% over operating income of C$125.8 million in the prior-year period.
WestJet (WJI) has been in the black for 42 consecutive quarters.
(WJI)’s 3rd-quarter traffic heightened +4.5% year-over-year to 5.65 billion (RPM)s on a +6.2% lift in capacity to 6.91 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 81.8% LF, down -1.3 points. Yield fell -1% to C$0.185.
(WJI)’s return on invested capital (ROIC) was 16.1% for the 12 months ended September 30, slightly outpacing its 13% to 16% (ROIC) target. (WJI)’s on-time performance during the quarter was 86%, up +4.1 points year-over-year, which (CEO) Gregg Saretsky pointed out led North American airlines for the second straight quarter.
News Item A-2: WestJet (WJI) commenced services between Abbotsford (YXX) and Las Vegas (LAS) on October 29. The 1,553 km sector will be flown 2x-weekly on Thursdays and Sundays by (WJI)’s 737-600s, and faces no direct competition. (WJI) also serves Calgary and Edmonton from Abbotsford, as well as a seasonal service to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.
3 737-8CT (40336, C-FYBK; 40838, C-FLSF; 40839, C-FYPB) and 767-338ER (25576, C-GOGN) deliveries.
December 2015: News Item A-1: "Boeing, Canada Consortium to Partner on Biofuel" by (ATW) Linda Blachly, December 3, 2015.
Boeing (TBC) announced it will collaborate with the University of British Columbia and SkyNRG (with support from Canada’s aviation industry) to turn leftover branches, sawdust and other forest-industry waste into sustainable aviation biofuel.
Canada, which has extensive sustainably certified forests, has long used mill and forest residues to make wood pellets that are used to generate electricity. A consortium that includes Boeing (TBC), Air Canada (ACN), WestJet (WJI), Bombardier (BMB), research institutions and industry partners will assess whether forest waste could also be harnessed to produce sustainable aviation biofuel using thermo-chemical processing.
This project, announced during the 2015 Canadian Bioeconomy Conference in Vancouver, was recently awarded funding by the Green Aviation Research & Development Network (GARDN) of Canada as part of a portfolio of investments in technologies to reduce aviation's carbon emissions.
The consortium is led by (UBC) and (NORAM) Engineering and Constructors, Ltd of Vancouver. Project partner, SkyNRG, based in the Netherlands, is the global market leader for sustainable jet fuel, having supplied biofuel to >20 carriers worldwide.
News Item A-2: WestJet Airlines (WJI) will wet-lease 2 Boeing 767s from Omni Air International (OAI) for 1 month beginning on December 11 due to a delay in receiving its own Extended Twin-range OPerationS (ETOPS) certification.
(WJI), the low-cost carrier (LCC) is in the process of taking 4 used 767-300ERs, all of which once flew for Qantas (QAS), as part of a deal with Boeing Capital. When (WJI) said earlier this year that it would fly between Alberta and Hawaii beginning in December, it expected those 767s would be certified for over water flights by the time the schedule started.
But on (WJI)’s 3rd-quarter earnings conference call November 3, WestJet (WJI) (CEO) Gregg Saretsky said Boeing (TBC) chose a new USA maintenance facility that “struggled” with servicing (WJI)’s 1st 767, which delayed the start date of domestic Canada flights needed for (ETOPS) certification. (WJI) also found it did not have all the historical maintenance records it needed from Qantas (QAN), so it took some time to re-create them.
The first (WJI) 767 had been scheduled to start flying domestic routes on August 2, but it did not start flying within Canada until October 22.
(WJI) said he could not predict when (WJI) will secure (ETOPS) approval, but he said the wet-lease agreement with (OAI) will last only 30 days. “We are actively working with Transport Canada to obtain 180 minutes (ETOPS) certification in respect of our 767 fleet, but determined that we needed to secure an alternate solution for fulfilling the 1st 30 days of this winter’s Alberta - Hawaii service,” he said.
WestJet (WJI) has leased 2 767s: a 767-200 and a 767-300. They will fly from Calgary and Edmonton in Canada to Honolulu and Maui. (WJI) said passengers service and seating will be similar to what (WJI) would offer on its own airplanes.
On the (WJI) "earnings" call, Saretsky said (WJI) might ask Boeing Capital to pay for costs associated with the delay. “The way our deal was struck with Boeing (TBC),” Saretsky told analysts, “any delay that causes incremental expense for us, ought to be reimbursable by Boeing (TBC).”
The wet-lease agreement is not unusual for WestJet (WJI). It recently had a deal, which expired earlier this year, in which Thomas Cook Airlines (JMA)/(GUE) operated its flights between Alberta and Hawaii using Boeing 757s. After using its own 767s to Hawaii this winter, (WJI) plans to deploy them in the spring and summer from 6 Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto, to London Gatwick Airport.
January 2016: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI), a few months after announcing the launch of new London flights in May 2015, now says it will serve this new market from Calgary and Toronto year-round.
News Item A-2: " WestJet (WJI), Aeromexico (AMX) to Code Share, Sell Tickets for Each Other" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, January 13, 2016.
WestJet (WJI) and Aeromexico (AMX) have signed a code share pact that builds on an interline agreement reached in December 2011. Under the new deal, (AMX) passengers will be able to connect via (WJI) through Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver to a range of Canadian cities, including Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Halifax, Deer Lake, and St John’s. (WJI) will place its code on (AMX)’s lights between Mexico City and Montreal, Mexico City, and Toronto, plus Mexico City and Vancouver.
The airlines have also agreed to sell tickets for travel on each other’s entire networks, even including non-code share flights. “As part of their cooperation, bags checked with both (AMX) and (WJI) will continue to reach their final destination without a separate check-in at the point of transfer between the carriers,” the airlines said in a joint statement.
News Item A-3: "WestJet Gains (ETOPS) for 767s, Flies own Wide Bodies to Hawaii" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, January 11, 2016.
WestJet (WJI) has launched flights from Calgary and Edmonton to Hawaii using its own Boeing 767-300ERs, a major step for (WJI), the Canadian low-cost carrier (LCC) as it gears up for wide body service to London Gatwick.
(WJI), formerly an all-737 operator, took delivery of its 1st wide body, a 767-300ER, in August 2015. It was the 1st of 4 used 767-300ERs that (WJI) is adding to its fleet. (WJI) planned to start seasonal 767-300ER services from western Canada to Hawaii in December with 2 of those 767s. However, those plans hit a snag because the airplane did not have Extended-range Twin-engine OPerationS (ETOPS) certification.
Last month, (WJI) began the Hawaii services via two wet-leased 767s from Omni Air International (OAI). But after operating its owned 767s between Toronto and Calgary temporarily, (WJI) was able to gain the necessary (ETOPS) certification and the airplane are now being deployed between Calgary and Honolulu and between Edmonton and Maui.
“This certification allows the airplane to be operated for extended distances over water and is required for (WJI)’s service to Hawaii and to London Gatwick, which commences service in May 2016,” (WJI) said.
(WJI)’s 767-300ERs are configured with 262 seats, including 24PY premium economy seats.
(WJI) will operate 767 flights to London Gatwick from Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto starting in May; the flights from Toronto and Calgary will be year-round.
In addition to its mainline 737s and 767s, (WJI) also operates an all-Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q400 regional subsidiary.
News Item A-4: 1 Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q402 (4515, C-FJWE), delivered to Westjet Encore (WJI).
February 2016: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) earned a net profit of +C$367.5 million/+$265.1 million for the full-year 2015, up +29.4% over net income of +C$284 million in 2014.
The result marked (WJI)’s 10th consecutive year of profitability and, despite economic weakness in western Canada in 2015 owing to low oil prices, was the company’s highest-ever annual net profit. Return on invested capital (ROIC) for the 12 months ended December 31, 2015, was 15.3%, down slightly from (ROIC) of 16.1% for the 12 months ended September 30, but still toward the higher end of (WJI)’s 13% to 16% (ROIC) target.
(WJI)’s 2015 revenue was C$4.03 billion, up +1.3% year-over-year, while expenses were essentially flat compared to 2014 at C$3.46 billion. Operating income of C$569.8 million was up +19.8% over an operating profit of +C$475.5 million in 2014. Full-year airplane fuel costs lowered -25.3% compared to 2014 to C$814.5 million.
(WJI)’s 2015 traffic increased +3.3% year-over-year to 21.53 billion (RPM)s on a +5.2% rise in capacity to 26.9 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 80% LF, down -1.4 points. Yield fell -1.9% to C$0.187.
News Item A-2: WestJet (WJI) begins 2x-weekly, Vancouver - Orlando service on April 29.
March 2016: WestJet Encore has started 3x-daily, Toronto Pearson - Boston Bombardier (BMB) Q400 flights, marking the regional carrier’s entrance into the Canada - USA transborder market.
Encore, the all-Q400 affiliate of Calgary-based WestJet (WJI), launched operations in June 2013, initially focusing on a handful of routes in western Canada.
In fewer than <3 years, it has expanded its fleet from 2 to 28 airplanes. Its fleet is expected to grow by 8 more Q400s by late 2017. It serves 32 Canadian cities and now Boston, with plans to add another USA city, Nashville, in June.
Encore’s Q400s are configured with 78Y seats in an all-economy class cabin.
April 2016: WestJet (WJI) begins seasonal Boeing 737 services with 4x-weekly, Halifax - Vancouver on June 30 and 4x-weekly, Halifax - Winnipeg on July 2.
May 2016: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) reported a 1st-quarter net profit of +C$87.6 million/+$67.3 million, down -37.7% from net income of +C$140.7 million in the 2015 March quarter, as revenue fell -4.8% year-over-year to C$1.03 billion.
(WJI) noted it had achieved its 44th consecutive profitable quarter, but blamed the year-over-year decline on “economic weakness in Alberta.” (CEO) Gregg Saretsky said “the fundamentals of our business remain strong” even though (WJI) saw return on invested capital (ROIC) for the 12 months ended March 31 fall slightly below its 13% to 16% (ROIC) target to 12.8%, down -2.5 points year-over-year.
(WJI)’s 1st-quarter expenses rose +2.5% year-over-year to C$908.2 million. Operating income was C$123.3 million, down -37.5% from an operating profit of +C$197.2 million in the 2015 March quarter.
WestJet (WJI)’s first-quarter traffic increased +7.6% year-over-year to 5.99 billion (RPM)s on a +7% increase in capacity to 7.29 billion (ASM)s, producing a load factor of 82.1% LF, up +0.5 point. Yield fell -11.6% to C$0.172.
(WJI) said it is “keeping our capacity plans fluid for 2016 and will continue to adjust our schedules to stimulate demand.”
(WJI) added one Boeing 737-800 to its fleet in the quarter, bringing its 737NG fleet to 115 airplanes as of March 31. (WJI) also has 3 767-300s in its mainline fleet. Regional affiliate, WestJet Encore added 3 new Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q400 turboprops to its fleet during the quarter to bring Encore’s total fleet to 27 Q400s.
News Item A-2: WestJet (WJI) commenced long-haul, wide body operations on May 6 and 7 when it launched services to London Gatwick (LGW). Flights from Calgary (YYC), Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and Vancouver (YVR) launched to the UK capital on the former date, with flights from Edmonton (YEG), St John’s (YYT), and Winnipeg (YWG) started on the latter.
Gatwick becomes the 2nd UK destination for (WJI), with it having inaugurated seasonal services to Glasgow from Halifax last year. Of (WJI)’s new routes to Gatwick, 3 will face direct competition, while services to all destinations apart from Edmonton and Winnipeg will see indirect competition from Air Canada (ACN) at London Heathrow (LHR). British Airways (BAB) also serves Calgary, Pearson, and Vancouver from (LHR), with the latter having been upgraded to A380 services this month.
Routes as follows:
Calgary (YYC) to London Gatwick (LGW), 767-300, 5x-, vs Air Transat (AIJ), 2x-;
Toronto Pearson (YYZ) to London Gatwick (LGW), 767-300 7x-, vs (AIJ) 7x-;
Vancouver (YVR) to London Gatwick (LGW), 767-300 3x-, vs (AIJ) 3x;
Edmonton (YEG) to London Gatwick (LGW), 767-300 2x-;
St John's (YYT) to London Gatwick (LGW, 737-800, 7x-;
Winnipeg (YWG) to London Gatwick (LGW), 767-300, 1x-.
June 2016: WestJet Encore has signed a firm order for 9 Bombardier (BMB) Q400 turboprops in an order valued at $293 million at list prices. The transaction is a conversion of options booked by the airline’s parent company, WestJet (WJI) and will increase WestJet Encore’s fleet to 45 Q400 aircraft.
“(BMB)’s Toronto-built, Q400 turboprop airliner has allowed us to expand from our Western Canada base to more and more communities from coast to coast across Canada and into the USA,” WestJet Encore President, Ferio Pugliese said. “These 9 new superb Q400 aircraft will continue to grow our network.”
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft VP Regional Aircraft, Kevin Smith said, “In just 3 years WestJet Encore’s operations have grown from 2 Q400 aircraft serving just 2 cities, to 28 aircraft serving 36 destinations in Canada and the USA. With this order, WestJet Encore has 17 aircraft still to be delivered, which will allow further expansion of the airline's network.”
October 2016: 737-8CT (40840, C-FZRM) delivery.
November 2016: WestJet (WJI) will launch 3x-weekly Calgary - Phoenix Mesa service from January 19, 2017, and 1x-weekly Edmonton - Phoenix Mesa service from January 21, 2017.
DHC-8 402 (4536, C-GJEN), delivery.
December 2016: "WestJet to Pursue more Wide Body Airplanes Following Pilots' Approval" by Aaron Karp, (ATW) Daily News, December 27, 2016.
Canadian low-cost carrier (LCC) WestJet (WJI) has been given the go-ahead from its pilots (FC) to acquire additional wide body airplanes. (WJI) currently operates 4 Boeing 767-300s from destinations in Canada to Hawaii and London Gatwick. But (WJI), which was founded in 1996 and operated an all-737 mainline fleet for most of its existence, has said its initial wide body, long-haul flights that began in January 2016 have been a success. As a result, WestJet (WJI) has signaled its intention to acquire additional wide body airplanes to launch more long-haul routes.
But (WJI)'s labor agreement with its pilots (FC) did not allow it to add more wide body airplanes. (WJI) has remained non-unionized through its existence. (WJI) employees own stock in the company and the consistently profitable airline has engaged in regular profit sharing, which has largely led to labor peace at the company.
(WJI)'s 1,380 pilots (FC) are represented by the WestJet Pilots Association, which collectively bargains on behalf of (WJI)'s flight crew (FC), but does not consider itself a union and is not affiliated with any larger unions.
In November, (WJI)'s rank-and-file pilots (FC) overwhelming voted to reject a new agreement that would have allowed (WJI) to add more wide body airplanes. (WJI) negotiated changes, and a revised agreement was put up for a vote in December. (WJI) said the pilots (FC) accepted the new deal in voting that concluded December 23. "This agreement now allows us to proceed with plans to expand our wide body operations to new destinations in the future," (WJI) said. "We will now turn our attention to acquiring additional wide body airplanes."
(WJI)'s pilots (FC) have been the target of a unionization campaign by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the largest pilots' union in the world. "I'm going to go down fighting to prevent the unionization of WestJet," (WJI) (CEO) Gregg Saretsky recently told the "Calgary Herald," arguing it does not make sense for "middle men" to get between airline management and (WJI)'s employees.
January 2017: WestJet (WJI) launched 3x-weekly Winnipeg - Ontario/Hamilton service from January 17. (WJI) began 3x-weekly Calgary - Phoenix Mesa Boeing 737 service on January 19 through April 29. (WJI) will launch 1x-weekly Calgary - Edmonton 737 service January 21 through April 29.
February 2017: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) reported a full-year 2016 net profit of +C$295.5 million/+$219.4 million, down -19.6% from +C$367.5 million in 2015.
(WJI)’s earnings were driven by a +15.9% increase in ancillary revenue, which management said was partially offset by “downward pressure on our fares [related] to the economic downturn of the energy sector [in western Canada].” On a per-guest basis, (WJI)’s ancillary fees in 2016 increased +8.4% to $18.01 per guest, compared to C$16.62 per guest in 2015, attributable, (WJI) said, to an increase in seating upgrades, 1st bag fees and pre-reserved seating.
WestJet (WJI)’s 2016 revenue totaled C$4.1 billion, up +2.3% year-over-year (YOY), as expenses increased +6.5% to C$3.7 billion, producing full-year operating income of +C$440.1 million, down -22.8% from +C$569.8 million in 2015. Full-year airplane fuel costs were down -6% in 2016 to C$766 million, slowing from a -25.3% fuel cost drop in 2015.
(WJI)’s return on invested capital (ROIC) for the 12 months ended December 31, 2016 was 11.3%, down -4 points from (ROIC) of 15.3% for 2015. (WJI)’s long-term (ROIC) target remains at 13% to 16%.
For 2017, (WJI) forecasts full-year capital expenditures between C$900 and C$920 million, an increase from the company’s previous guidance of C$880 to C$900 million; (WJI) described the increase as being driven by a weaker Canadian dollar/USA dollar exchange rate. (WJI) said spending will be related primarily to airplane deliveries, deposits on future airplanes, overhauls on owned engines and (IFE) installation on certain airplanes.
In 2019, WestJet (WJI) carried 21.9 million passengers (+8.4%)’s and passenger traffic increased +11.3% in 2016 to 24 billion (RPM)s on a +8.9% rise in capacity to 29.3 billion (ASM)s. (WJI)’s full-year load factor was 81.8% LF, the 2nd-highest annual load factor in the company’s history, up +1.8 points from 2015. Yield fell -8.1% to C$0.172.
As of December 31, 2016, (WJI)’s fleet totaled 153 airplanes, up +9.3% from 2015, comprising 13 Boeing 737-600s, 56 737-700s (27 of which are leased, 29 owned); 46 737-800s (14 leased, 32 owned); 4 767-300ERWs and 34 Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprops. The (LCC) added 4 737-800s, 2 737-300ERWs and 10 Dash 8-Q400s in 2016 while reducing its 737-700s by 3. (WJI) plans to take delivery of 2 737-800NGs, 4 737 MAX 8s and 9 Dash 8-Q400s in 2017.
News Item A-2: WestJet Encore commenced flights between Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and Sudbury (YSB) on February 3. The relatively short 340 km intra-Ontario sector will be flown by the airline daily on its Dash 8-Q400s. The connection is already served by Air Canada (ACN) which provides 39x-weekly flights between the 2 airports this winter. This now becomes WestJet (WJI)’s 24th destination in Canada served from Canada’s busiest airport. In addition, Canada’s 2nd biggest airline also serves almost 50 international routes during the current winter season. This new service marks a belated return to Sudbury for WestJet (WJI) which previously served the airport in Northern Ontario between 2001 and 2004 from Hamilton. According to the airport’s most recent annual report the facility handled 228,529 passengers in 2015, which is +27% more than in 2010.
News Item A-3: WestJet (WJI) continues to consider adding more wide body airplanes, but it appears the industry will have to wait at least a few more months to see how it will execute that strategy. Pilots (FC) at (WJI) approved additional wide body airplane operations in December. This would build on (WJI)’s 2016 launch of Boeing 767 service to London’s Gatwick Airport.
DHC-8-402 (4548, C-FWEP) delivery to Westjet Encore.
March 2017: News Item A-1: Responding to a reported tripling of recreational unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) incidents since 2014, Transport Canada issued new operational rules March 16, effective immediately. The new rules affect operations of recreational (UAV)s weighing between 250g/.55 lb and 35kg/77 lbs, and include the specification that recreational operators cannot fly (UAV)s within 9 km/5.6 miles of the center of any airport, heliport, aerodrome or water aerodrome where aircraft take off and land. The rules will be in effect for a period of up to 1 year, until permanent regulations are put in place.
Operators of (UAV)s for commercial, academic or research purposes will not be affected, Transport Canada said, adding that rules already in place “are effective and most commercial users operate their [UAVs] in a safe manner.” Also included in the measures are prohibitions on flying recreational (UAV)s at night. Additionally, (UAV)s cannot be flown higher than 90 m/295 ft and nor can they be flown within 75 m/246 ft of buildings, vehicles or people. Finally, all recreational (UAV)s must be marked with the operator’s contact information. Failure to comply with the new flying restrictions and conditions could lead to fines of up to C$3,000/$2,231, Transport Canada said.
“I take very seriously the increased risk to aviation safety and to people on the ground caused by [UAVs],” Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said while announcing the new measures at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport March 16. “That is why I am proceeding with this measure which takes effect immediately, to enhance the safety of aviation and the public while we work to bring into force permanent regulations.” According to Transport Canada, (UAV) incidents increased from 41 in 2014 to 148 in 2016.
WestJet (WJI) and Jazz Aviation (ACN), plus airports in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax all voiced quick support of the measures. “We are pleased that Minister Garneau has taken this step to immediately ensure the safety of our [passengers], crew and aircraft with the implementation of new rules around [UAVs],” (WJI) Executive VP Operations Cam Kenyon said. “We look forward to the rules becoming permanent law in the future.” Jazz (ACN) President Colin Copp also praised the announcement, saying recreational (UAV) use “is a matter of great concern for Jazz.”
“The safety of our passengers is our top priority, and implementing proactive measures such as these is vital to mitigating against evolving safety risks,” Greater Toronto Airports Authority corporate safety and security director Jennifer Sullivan said. “Flying of recreational [UAVs] near airports poses an unnecessary risk to aviation,” Calgary Airport Authority VP Operations Bernie Humphries said. “Today’s announcement is a significant step toward reducing risks from [UAV] activity.”
“Transport Canada’s continued efforts address the dangers of recreational [UAV] use,” Vancouver International Airport (YVR) President & (CEO) Craig Richmond said. “We are committed to working with our partners to ensure that [UAV] operators understand and comply with the new rules.” In 2015, (YVR) installed “No Drone Zone” signage across Sea Island, the island on which (YVR) and the small residential village of Burkeville reside. "The introduction of this temporary order will help protect airspace users and the traveling public. It is particularly important to draw attention to the key role that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and local law enforcement agencies play in addressing the obvious safety risk posed by the reckless operation of (UAV)s," (IATA) Air Traffic Management & Infrastructure Director Rob Eagles said. "Looking ahead, advanced technology will provide new ways to appropriately regulate recreational, commercial and state (UAV) operations."
The Drone Manufacturers Alliance (DMA), which represents (UAV) manufacturers (3DR), (DJI), GoPro and Parrot, blasted the regulations, saying they would “hurt innovation and education without a corresponding improvement in safety.” “The overwhelming majority of Canadian drone pilots operate safely and responsibly, and they are the ones who will be hurt by far-reaching restrictions, not the tiny number of irresponsible operators who have already violated existing drone safety rules,” (DMA) Director Kara Calvert said. “Technology and education provide a better solution than a hastily written ban."
April 2017: News Item A-1: "Canada's Transport Minister: United Airlines (UAL) Incident Won't Be Tolerated" by Charmaine Noronha, Associated Press (AP), April 13, 2017.
Canada will introduce legislation to address the issue of travelers being bumped from flights, the country's Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said April 13.
Marc Garneau sent a letter to the heads of every airline flying in and out of Canada to warn them that an incident like the one that injured an American doctor earlier this week cannot happen in Canada.
The letter comes 5 days after Dr David Dao, 69, was dragged off a United Airlines (UAL) flight in Chicago after refusing to leave his seat to accommodate (UAL) airline crew members. He suffered a concussion, a broken nose and 2 missing teeth when security officers forced him off the plane against his will, banging his head on armrests in the process, according to his lawyer. He has hired lawyers who told a news conference April 13 they expected to file a lawsuit against (UAL).
Garneau's warning comes ahead of legislation to introduce a passengers' bill of rights in Canada. The legislation, expected this spring, is to outline what passengers can expect from airlines in situations such as bumping from overbooked planes or for lost or damaged luggage. "When passengers purchase an airline ticket, they expect and deserve that the airline will fulfill its part of the transaction," Garneau wrote. "When that agreement is not fulfilled, passengers are entitled to clear, transparent and enforceable compensation."
He said the legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks and that co-operation from the airlines will be essential to further improve the traveler experience.
News Item A-2: WestJet (WJI), Canada’s 2nd largest airline, said it will launch an ultra (LCC) by the end of 2017.
The new carrier, not yet named, will have an initial fleet of 10 “high-density” Boeing 737-800s, (WJI) said. “The (ULCC) will provide Canadians with no-frills, lower-cost travel options.” The (ULCC) will be the 2nd subsidiary carrier (WJI) launches this decade; in 2013, it launched an all-Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 regional airline, WestJet Encore.
(WJI) intends for the (ULCC) to start service by the end of this year, subject to an agreement with its pilots (FC) and regulatory approval.
In a blog post on (WJI)’s website, (WJI) (CEO) Gregg Saretsky explained the rationale for launching a (ULCC). “The air travel industry has changed remarkably since the launch of (WJI) in 1996,” he wrote. “The concept of a low-cost carrier (LCC) was still relatively new when (WJI) took to the skies on Februaryt 29, 1996, serving 5 destinations in Western Canada with 3 airplanes and 200 employees. Fast forward to where we find ourselves today (there >100 low-cost airlines around the world and there is a relatively new category called (ULCC)s where airlines offer much lower fares with a completely unbundled product offering and increased seat density. This has allowed the traveling public to select what they would like to add onto their ticket, thus keeping the overall cost of travel lower.”
He noted that (WJI) has grown “beyond its low-cost roots,” serving >100 destinations globally, and now needs to offer a separate product to capture Canada’s most price sensitive passengers. “Launching a (ULCC) will broaden (WJI)’s growth opportunities and open new market segments by offering more choice to those Canadians looking for lower fares,” (WJI) co-Founder and board Chairman Clive Beddoe said.
News Item A-3: Pilots (FC) at Calgary’s WestJet (WJI) are gearing up for another attempt to unionize.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) made the announcement on the same day that WestJet (WJI) indicated its plan to launch an ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC), although it did not directly refer to that news.
“(WJI) pilots (FC) told us they are ready for a certified union,” (ALPA) President Tim Canoll said. “Now is the time for them to take the next step and vote for (ALPA) in order to obtain the resources available to secure their goals.”
(ALPA) expects the election to happen in May. Prior to that, the Canada Industrial Relations Board must verify the membership cards that pilots (FC) submitted.
If pilots (FC) do opt for (ALPA) representation, they would start working toward developing a collective bargaining agreement.
(WJI) employees are not unionized, but do belong to a group called the WestJet Employee Association (WEA). Under the umbrella of that group is the WestJet Pilots’ Association (WJPA). Pilots (FC) have negotiated contracts covering wages and scheduling through that group, as well as new business decisions, such as adding transatlantic flights.
This is the 2nd unionization attempt in 2 years, (WEA) said in an April 20 statement. Pilots (FC) voted against union representation in 2015. “The (WJPA) has worked collaboratively with (WJI) to provide our pilots (FC) with continual advancements on compensation and work rules,” (WJPA) Chairman Brad Armitage said. “We believe that the (WEA) and the (WJPA) is the right type of representation for WestJetters.”
(WJI) has not yet revealed its plan for staffing the (ULCC). The plan is subject to pilot (FC) approval, as is commonly the case when WestJet (WJI) plans major business strategy decisions. “We believe the new (ULCC) can only be successful if (WJI) is able to negotiate separate lower labor costs with its flight crew (FC) who will work in the (ULCC),” National Bank Financial analyst Cameron Doerksen said in a research note released after the new carrier announcement.
(ALPA) represents pilots (FC) at the following Canadian airlines: First Air (BRS), Air Transat (AIJ), Air Georgian, Jazz Aviation (ACN), Bearskin, Kelowna Flightcraft (KEL) and Canadian North (CNN). Air Canada (ACN) pilots (FC) have their own association.
WestJet (WJI) employed 1,380 pilots (FC) at the end of 2016.
May 2017: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) said it has become the 1st Canadian airline to receive (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) level 2 certification, confirming (WJI)’s ability to send and receive (NDC) messages.
(NDC) is an (IATA)-led initiative to enhance the capability of communications between airlines and travel agents. “The benefits of (IATA)’s (NDC) are robust and clear for both the travel trade industry and the consumer,” (WJI) VP Sales & Distribution Lyell Farquharson said. “As WestJet (WJI) continues to unbundle our products and add ancillary options, these new capabilities allow us to integrate and collaborate more effectively with travel industry partners around the world to benefit our guests. The investment in (NDC) is 1 of many investments we have made in the last year to support our market leading capabilities and growth in the business traveler segment. We know this new capability will make it easier to obtain (WJI)'s content, enhance the product offering to guests and provide a seamless experience starting with the booking process,” he said.
(IATA) (NDC) program director Yanik Hoyles said (NDC) is “modernizing the way that airline products are presented through travel intermediaries, providing travel customers with richer content and increased transparency.”
According to (WJI), “(NDC) paves the way for travel agents and travel management companies to add value to their customers by being able to access all relevant aspects of the (WJI) experience from cabin details and baggage allowance to upgrade options, as well as book flights and ancillaries such as meals and selecting seats from WestJet (WJI).”
News Item A-2: Pilots at Calgary’s WestJet (WJI) have voted to join the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). 62% of pilots (FC) voted in favor of (ALPA) representation, the union said on May 12. Pilots (FC) now will develop a master executive council to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement, (ALPA) said.
News Item A-3: WestJet (WJI) has appointed Bob Cummings as Executive VP of its yet-to-be-named ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC), which will launch late in 2017 or early 2018 with an initial fleet of 10 “high-density” Boeing 737-800s.
Cummings has been with WestJet (WJI) since 2005, with almost 11 years at the Executive VP level with a variety of responsibilities. He will be accountable for all aspects of this new venture, including planning, branding, pricing, product development and operationalization. He will also continue to drive other key strategic initiatives for (WJI). He takes on the new role May 29.
(WJI) (CEO) Gregg Saretsky had said previously that (WJI) has grown “beyond its low-cost roots,” serving >100 destinations globally and now needs to offer a separate product to capture Canada’s most price-sensitive passengers.”
(WJI) co-Founder and board Chairman Clive Beddoe said launching a (ULCC) will “broaden (WJI)’s growth opportunities and open new market segments by offering more choice to those Canadians looking for lower fares.”
News Item A-4: WestJet (WJI) has agreed to buy up to 20 Boeing 787-9s. The order includes commitments for 10 787-9s to be delivered between the 1st quarter of 2019 and December 2021, with options for an additional 10 787-9s to be delivered between 2020 and 2024.
1 Bombardier Dash 8-Q402 (4556, C-GWJK) delivery.
June 2017: WestJet (WJI) launched its new route between Quebec City and Montreal, (WJI)'s 1st non-stop flight within the province of Quebec. (WJI) will operate 4x-daily connecting the 2 cities.
"(WJI)'s introduction of our 1st-ever point-to-point service within Quebec brings lower fares and an elevated in-flight experience to 'la belle province' and is the next step in our mandate to become a truly national carrier," said Charles Duncan President, WestJet Encore. "The communities of Montreal and Quebec City will enjoy having a choice of air carriers on this popular route, as (WJI) provides another convenient option for residents who travel within the province for business and leisure. As always, we are committed to making air travel in Canada better."
"By adding more service from Quebec City, (WJI) shows its commitment toward the passengers of the Greater Quebec City area," said Mr. Gaëtan Gagné, President & Chief Executive Officer of Aéroport de Quebec inc. "(WJI)'s increased presence in the Québec-Montreal corridor will give more access to more destinations through its network and that of its airline partners. More competition in the market has a direct impact on the price of airfare, for the benefit of the travelers in our community."
"This new flight between Montréal-Trudeau and Quebec City is another proof of (WJI)'s commitment to enriching our airline network," said Philippe Rainville President and Chief Executive Officer of Aéroports de Montréal.
The new route is the 2nd of 3 (WJI) announced earlier this year (bringing more choice, competition and lower fares to the Quebec market. The routes are part of a significant investment in Quebec's travel and tourism market, with increased service and new routes to and from Montréal- Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport as well as Quebec City's Jean Lesage International Airport).
On March 15, WestJet (WJI) launched 2x-daily service between Montreal and Halifax. And, on October 15, (WJI) will begin 2x-daily service between Montreal and Boston. Overall, (WJI) is adding +105 more flights per week in the province, a capacity increase of +74%.
The Quebec-City/Montreal route is operated by (WJI)'s regional airline, WestJet Encore, on its fleet of Canadian-made Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s. (WJI) is proud to support this iconic Canadian company based in Montreal and flies the 4th largest fleet of Dash 8-Q400s in the world. By mid-2018, the regional airline will have a total of 45 aircraft.
September 2017: Calgary-based low cost carrier (LCC) WestJet (WJI) has announced the name and logo for its ultra-(LCC) subsidiary in Canada will be "Swoop." The new (ULCC) will begin selling flights in early 2018.
“The name Swoop denotes exactly what we plan to do,” (WJI) Executive VP Strategy Bob Cummings said. “It's a powerful verb that demonstrates we plan to swoop in to the Canadian market with a new business model that will provide lower fares and greater opportunity for more Canadians to travel.”
(WJI) announced plans for the (ULCC) in April and appointed Cumming Executive VP of the new carrier in May. Swoop will have an initial fleet of 10 Boeing 737-800s.
According to (WJI), Swoop will provide Canadians with a “no-frills, lower-fare travel option backed by an airline with a proven track record of bringing lower fares to Canadians and an investment-grade credit rating.”
(WJI) (CEO) Gregg Saretsky had said previously that (WJI) has grown “beyond its low-cost roots,” serving > 100 destinations globally and now needs to offer a separate product to capture Canada’s most price-sensitive passengers.” (WJI) said Swoop’s headquarters will be in Calgary; an exact location will be announced at a later date.
Cummings said Calgary offers Swoop the opportunity to “save costs through shared services with (WJI)’s corporate head office, the availability of existing infrastructure, and talented, experienced WestJetters to draw from. We are confident that these qualities will support our (ULCC) operations and our guests well into the future.”
October 2017: WestJet (WJI) received its 1st 2 737 MAX 8 airplanes (60510, C-FRAX; 60511, C-FRAN) September 29 to 30. (WJI) ordered 40 737-800 and 25 737-700 in 2013.
These airplanes initially operated domestically to Calgary, Vancouver International and Toronto Pearson before entering international services. Currently (WJI) operates to 103 destinations, on 256 routes and 669 daily flights.
November 2017: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) Greg Saretsky (CEO) has told investors that (WJI) would consider a possible revenue-sharing arrangement or joint-venture with a USA carrier. In a conference call with analysts after the business posted its 3rd quarter financial results, Saretsky revealed (WJI) would “look at” the potential of coordinating items on certain routes.
He said: “We’re generally supportive [of joint ventures]. Would we do it ourselves? I think we have to look at it. We have 2 great partners in the USA (American Airlines (AAL) and Delta (DAL)) and we’re in regular conversations with both of them about what more could we do and how we could add value to each other.”
Saretsky was speaking shortly after (WJI) filed its results for the 3 months to the end of September 2017, with record net earnings of +CAN$138.4 million. (WJI) achieved its 50th consecutive quarter of profitability and flew an all-time quarterly record of 6.5 million passengers. “Our business fundamentals continue to strengthen, which combined with new strategic initiatives, including the launching of Swoop in the summer of 2018 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner service starting in 2019, gives us great confidence in our ability to deliver sustainable profitable growth and earnings expansion."
Ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) Swoop will offer a “no-frills, lower-fare travel option” when it launches in 2018. Ed Sims, (WJI)’s Executive VP Commercial, said it would be the group’s “competitive weapon. (WJI) will continue to manage well over one million fares on any given day at under $100 (it will continue to be low-cost) but Swoop will be the competitive weapon.” Sims added that capacity growth next year would be characterized by feeder traffic. “We’re really looking at our core hubs and the connectivity between those hubs across Canada,” he said.
“All of that is being built with a schedule that has the 787-9 Dreamliner in mind to ensure that we will continue to build that hub approach for the introduction of our wide bodied airplanes in 2019.
We continue to see strong growth in the trans-border market and we’ll be rolling out destinations like Calgary to Denver direct in March next year, while we see very strong growth in a lot of our international sun destinations.”
As (WJI) pushes forward with the launch of (ULCC) Swoop, competitor Jetlines (JET) also hopes to operate its 1st flights next summer. This month it confirmed that it intends to offer services from Abbotsford International Airport, initially from Hamilton, Ontario. “The addition of the Abbotsford International Airport extends Jetlines (JET)’s reach, allowing greater access to large populations,” said Jetlines (CEO) Stan Gadek.
Jetlines (JET), part of merchant bank King & Bay, intends to operate flights across Canada and provide non-stop service from the country to the USA, Mexico and the Caribbean. In September, (JET) announced it would start flights from John C Munro Hamilton International Airport and Region of Waterloo International Airport. During the same month, it also signed a letter of intent (LOI) for 2 Boeing 737-800NG airplanes with “a major USA based airplane leasing firm” for delivery in April 2018.
News Item A-2: "WestJet (WJI) Changes Boeing Order to Include 737 MAX 10; 3Q Net Profit up +19.4%" by Kristin Majcher, (ATW) Plus November 1, 2017.
WestJet (WJI) has modified its Boeing commitments to include the 737 MAX 10 model, (WJI) told analysts during its 3rd-quarter earnings call on October 31. Under the amended agreement, (WJI) will take 7 737 MAX 10 airplanes instead of 7 737 MAX 8s originally slated for delivery between 2022 to 2025. It will also add +5 787-10 airplanes for delivery starting in 2022, raising its total firm 737 MAX orders from 50 to 55 airplanes. (WJI) will also change 7 787-9 orders to 4 787-8s.
December 2017: Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Canada’s WestJet (WJI) have signed a preliminary Memo Of Understanding (MOU) to form a joint venture (JV) that will include coordinated schedules and pricing on USA - Canada transborder flights.
(DAL) and (WJI) already code share, but the (JV) will lead to expanded code sharing and “seamless connections on the airlines’ extensive networks in the USA and Canada.”
(WJI) President & (CEO) Gregg Saretsky said the 2 carriers will have “fully reciprocal” frequent flyer program benefits under the (JV).
(DAL) and (WJI) plan to finalize the terms of the (JV) agreement in the 1st half of 2018 and aim to launch the (JV) in the 1st half of 2019. The (JV) requires the approval of both airlines’ boards and regulatory clearance from the USA and Canada. Given that pricing will be coordinated, the carriers will need to gain antitrust immunity from both countries’ governments.
“We anticipate that the agreement will be reviewed by USA and Canadian regulatory authorities,” (DAL) said. “On the US side, this includes the Department of Transportation.”
(DAL) President International & Executive VP Global Sales Steve Sear said the carriers’ combined transborder network “captures 95% of demand between the 2 countries.”
The announcement of the proposed (JV) across the northern USA border comes 7 months after (DAL) launched a USA - Mexico transborder (JV) with Aeromexico (AMX). Sear noted that a (DAL) - (WJI) (JV) would be (DAL)’s 8th cross-border agreement with another airline that features a (JV) or an equity stake, or both.
Citing Aeromexico (AMX) and Air France (AFA) - (KLM), both of which are partly owned by (DAL) and have antitrust-immunized (JV)s with (DAL), Saretsky said a (DAL) - (WJI) (JV) will “open doors for [WJI] to play with those partners.”
(DAL) and (WJI) began interlining in 2011 and code sharing in 2012. Their cooperation caused a planned extensive code sharing accord between (WJI) and Southwest Airlines (SWA) to be terminated before it was implemented. (SWA), which had wanted to partner with (WJI) to extend its reach to Canada, said (WJI)’s plans with (DAL) were “inconsistent” with the (WJI) - (SWA) deal.
The (DAL) - (WJI) (JV) is slated launch around the same time the 1st of (WJI)’s 10 Boeing 787-9s is scheduled to be delivered in 2019. Both the addition of 787s and the (JV) with Delta mark key milestones for (WJI) as “we morph into a longer-haul international carrier,” Saretsky said.
January 2018: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) will move its nonstop seasonal service between Whitehorse, Yukon, and Vancouver, British Columbia, to Calgary International Airport (YYC) in Alberta, effective June 29. For the 1st time, flights between Whitehorse and Calgary will be available for purchase from January 29.
News Item A-2: WestJet (WJI) has hired 3 new VPs to the senior leadership team as (WJI) prepares for expansion.
Gandeephan Ganeshalingam was named VP Lean & Continuous Improvement; Stuart McDonald as VP & Chief Technology Officer; and Scott Groh as VP Crew Resources.
WestJet (WJI) President & (CEO) Gregg Saretsky said, “As we continue on our path to becoming a global, full-service carrier, the additional bench strength provided by our newest leaders is key to this exciting initiative.”
Gandeephan joins (WJI) February 19 from (GE) Canada, where he most recently served as Chief Innovation Officer. There, he supported WestJet (WJI) on several initiatives including an artificial intelligence project to improve dispatch reliability for (WJI)’s Boeing 767s.
McDonald, who joins (WJI) January 29, most recently served as VP Strategic Initiatives, and VP Employee Enablement at (TD) Bank. Prior to his time at (TD), Stuart held leadership roles in the technology and telecom industries in Hong Kong and Australia, including 2 years with Cathay Pacific (CAT) as Head of Enterprise Programs. He plans to work with (WJI) to build out the global technology footprint needed to meet (WJI)’s expansion plans. He plans to work with (WJI) to build out the global technology footprint needed to meet (WJI)’s expansion plans.
Groh joined (WJI) January 3 and most recently worked for Qatar Airways (QTA) as Senior VP Crew Resources, Flight Operations. Scott also held the position of VP Crew Resources for Etihad Airways (EHD) for 9 years and >30 years of experience in Crew Planning, and Crew Scheduling Operations. Scott’s experience with a complex fleet mix and schedule network involving >200 aircraft, 3,500 pilots (FC), and 11,000 cabin crew (CA) members with full-service global airlines will help (WJI) prepare for the challenges and opportunities of deploying its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet and global network plans.
February 2018: News Item A-1: "WestJet (CEO) Sees Boeing's Slow-Selling Max 7 as Key to Savings" by Frederic Tomesco, Bloomberg News, February 12, 2018.
Boeing (TBC)'s relatively slow-selling 737 Max 7 has a big fan in Western Canada. WestJet Airlines (WJI) next year will become the 2nd carrier, after Southwest Airlines (SWA), to operate the smallest version of (TBC)'s upgraded workhorse. (WJI) is set to receive 5 of the single-aisle jetliners next year.
"We love those planes," (WJI) (CEO) Gregg Saretsky said in an interview, citing the aircraft's range and 12 additional seats compared with the Boeing 737-700, a linchpin of the airline's fleet. "It's great for long, thin markets."
Saretsky is counting on the Max 7 and 2 larger variants of the 737 to boost the number of seats and reduce fuel consumption, which should contribute to (WJI)'s push to achieve annual savings of as much as CUS$200 million/(US$160 million over the next 5 years. The (CEO) is also betting on efficiencies from the deployment of 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners as (WJI) expands long-distance service.
(WJI) advanced 11% in the 12 months ending February 9, while larger rival Air Canada (ACN) surged 68%. Canada's benchmark S&P)/(TSX) Composite Index fell -3.7%.
* Jetliner Rollout
Boeing (TBC) rolled out the 737 Max 7, the 3rd member of its upgraded 737 family, at its Renton, Washington, factory on February 5. The milestone marked the 1st public appearance by the jet before it begins flight-testing. The model is longer and flies a greater distance than Boeing had originally planned. With input from (SWA) and (WJI) (and as sales flagged) (TBC) decided to stretch the frame to squeeze in 2 more rows of passengers. The 737 Max 7 can now fly as many as 172 travelers, and as far as 3,850 nm.
That's the longest range of any member of the 737 Max family. As travel demand and fuel costs rose over the past 15 years, airlines gravitated to larger single-aisle planes such as the 737 Max 8 and Airbus (EDS) A320neo. The 737 Max 7 has also faced tough competition from the largest of Bombardier (BMB)'s C Series models, the CS300.
(WJI) is scheduled to receive 23 of the Max 7 planes through 2027. It's also taking 16 of Boeing's Max 8 jets and 12 of the Max 10 airplanes.
* Adding 787 Dreamliners
(WJI) is adding its 1st 3 787 Dreamliners next year. Saretsky vows that the introduction will be smooth (not like 2 years ago, when mechanical issues and delays marred the debut of used Boeing 767s that (WJI) leased as it began flying to London from Toronto and western Canada. The 767s are now operating well, he said.
With the 787 in mind, (WJI) has applied to civil-aviation authorities in Canada and abroad for permission to fly to China and Japan. (WJI) will probably announce in July which foreign cities it plans to serve initially with the 787. "The beauty of the 787-9 is it has very long legs. It can fly pretty much anywhere in the world from Canada. It can make India nonstop, it can make China nonstop, it can do any destination in Latin America or Europe nonstop."
* Discount Clash
(WJI) is also starting a discount carrier called Swoop, which drew a labor complaint from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) in connection with the airline's efforts to recruit aviators.
(WJI) declined February 9 to comment on the complaint. A day earlier, Saretsky said Swoop would begin operating in June, as scheduled. (WJI) has received >9,000 job applications for the 500 pilot (FC) and flight attendant (CA) positions it wants to fill this year, he said. It would prefer to hire as many (WJI) pilots (FC) as possible.
Swoop is scheduled to begin operating with 3 Boeing 737 jets, rising to 10 by mid-2019. Over time, the unit could have as many as 40 planes in its fleet, fueling the need for pilots (FC). "There won't be a problem filling those roles," he said. "If our pilots (FC) choose not to pursue that career path, we will go outside (WJI) to fill those vacancies. We have several hundred applications already from very qualified pilots (FC) that are flying at other Canadian airlines, and from Canadians flying in the Middle East or China."
News Item A-2: Off the Grid on a Homemade Island
Floating off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada a 45-minute boat ride to the nearest town, is a sustainable island fortress complete with a dance floor, art gallery and garden. For artists Catherine King and Wayne Adams, this is home: a labor of love 24 years in the making.
March 2018: News Item A-1: The WestJet Group named Steven Greenway as President of WestJet (WJI)’s forthcoming ultra-(LCC) Swoop. Greenway (formerly (CCO) for Singapore Airlines (SIA)’s (LCC) subsidiary Scoot (SCT)) takes over the Swoop helm from Bob Cummings, the WestJet (WJI) executive in charge of Swoop’s launch. Cummings was named WestJet Executive VP, Strategy & Guest Services. Both Greenway and Cummings will report directly to (WJI) President & (CEO) Gregg Saretsky.
(WJI) said Greenway will be responsible “for all strategic aspects of Swoop, including short and long-term planning, branding, pricing, product development and operationalization of the (ULCC) in 2018 and beyond.”
Swoop is scheduled to launch in June, operating as a standalone (ULCC) on point-to-point domestic Canadian routes with an initial 3 189Y-seat Boeing 737-800s. Saretsky said in February the new (ULCC) aims to fly to some points outside of Canada by the end of 2018. Swoop’s fleet is planned to grow to 6 737-800s by the end of September and 10 by spring 2019.
Swoop will be Canada’s 1st (ULCC). In addition to domestic service, the new airline intends to compete with USA (ULCC)s flying from airports close to the Canadian border. Cummings told investors in December that “Canadians, for a number of years now” have been traveling across the border to fly out of USA airports on USA (ULCC)s, such as on Allegiant (WJE) flights to Las Vegas out of Bellingham, Washington and Spirit Airlines (SPR) flights to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, out of Buffalo, New York.
Company executives have predicted Swoop’s fleet could reach up to 40 airplanes, if Canada’s low-fare market demand expectations materialize. Swoop tickets went on sale in early February.
News Item A-2: "WestJet CEO Steps Sown in Surprise Leadership Change"
by Aaron Karp Aviation Daily, (firstname.lastname@example.org) March 8, 2018.
WestJet (WJI), Canada’s 2nd largest airline, made a surprise (CEO) change, announcing March 8 that Gregg Saretsky was stepping down “effective immediately” after 8 years leading (WJI).
Executive VP Commercial Ed Sims, who has held senior positions with Air New Zealand (ANZ) and formerly was (CEO) of New Zealand air navigation service provider Airservices, was named the Calgary-based airline’s new President & (CEO). He also was appointed to (WJI)’s board of directors with immediate effect.
The leadership move comes following a Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) ruling on pilot (FC) staffing at (WJI)’s new ultra-(LCC) subsidiary, Swoop, which threatens to derail plans to launch Swoop in June (although it is unknown whether that played a role in the decision to make a (CEO) change).
(WJI), founded in 1996 as a western Canadian oriented (LCC), is scheduled to take delivery of the 1st of 10 Boeing 787s it has on order next year and is in the process of transitioning to a more traditional long-haul airline. Sims ran Air New Zealand (ANZ)’s long-haul wide body operations.
“With plans well underway for the launch of Swoop and the introduction of the 787-9, I’m confident WestJet (WJI) will continue to grow to the next chapter and beyond,” Saretsky said. Sims added that Satetsky had set “the foundation for (WJI)’s global evolution.”
As WestJet (WJI) moved further away from its original roots, executives feared (WJI) was losing access to the most cost-conscious passengers and decided to launch Swoop, which is scheduled to start operations in June operating high-density 737-800s on point-to-point routes. (WJI)’s pilot (FC) staffing plan for Swoop was to allow pilots (FC) at mainline (WJI) and regional subsidiary WestJet Encore to take a “leave of absence” for 2 years to fly for the (ULCC), and then return to their previous job with no loss of seniority.
But the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) (which started representing the 2,000 pilots (FC) at WestJet (WJI) and Encore last May and is in the process of negotiating (WJI) pilots’ 1st-ever labor contract, filed an “unfair labor practice” complaint with the (CIRB), alleging (WJI) was circumventing negotiations with the union and going directly to pilots (FC) to staff Swoop’s roster.
The (CIRB) agreed and recently ruled to revoke (WJI)’s pilot leave policy, casting doubt on whether Swoop will be able to launch on time.
(ALPA) President Tim Canoll, speaking to Aviation Daily editors March 8, said he was surprised to learn of Saretsky’s resignation and encouraged WestJet (WJI) management to negotiate both over Swoop and a wider collective bargaining agreement. He said “everything is on the table” in terms of negotiations and indicated (ALPA) could be open to a 2-step process in which an agreement on Swoop pilot (FC) staffing is reached 1st and then a wider agreement is negotiated. A universal agreement covering all issues is also a possibility, he said.
“It’s not about holding up Swoop,” Canoll said. “It’s about getting to real negotiations right away. This can be put together. Let’s get it done. Swoop is coming. We’d love to bargain on that.”
April 2018: Air Canada (ACN) and (LCC) WestJet (WJI) face the biggest threats from each other rather than planned ultra (LCC) operators eyeing shares of a market dominated by the 2 carriers, "Fitch Ratings" said. “Although it is too early to predict the magnitude of any impact that (ULCC)s may have on [Air Canada], Fitch is not overly concerned at this time,” the ratings agency said in recent ratings-outlook commentary.
May 2018: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) (1Q) income drops -20% on rising fuel costs.
Rising fuel costs (combined with a planned ramp-up in capital expenditures) has put dents in most of (WJI)’s key 1st-quarter income metrics, and (WJI) is responding by fast-tracking a cost-reduction initiative.
News Item A-2: WestJet (WJI) pilots (FC), taking a major step closer to a costly showdown with the airline’s management, overwhelmingly approved a strike if the 2 sides fail to agree on a new contract during the last-ditch conciliation process currently underway.
(WJI) pilots (FC) are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).
Conciliation (similar to USA mediation) includes 60 days of negotiations and a cooling-off period before a strike can take place. (WJI) pilots (FC) have approved a strike if talks remain stalled, with 91% of those casting a ballot (95% of the 2,000 (WJI) and WestJet Encore pilots (FC) voted (approving a job action). The earliest they could walk out is May 19 (the end of the cooling-off period). But the union says it will not take any action before Canada’s Victoria Day holiday weekend ends. Victoria Day is May 21.
Meanwhile, negotiators on both sides plan to sit down in Halifax next week. “The goal is (and always has been) to secure a fair collective agreement that brings stability to the airline, and not to strike,” (WJI)’s (ALPA) Master Executive Council Chairman Rob McFadyen said. “The strong results of our strike vote and the excellent turnout at our informational picketing event earlier this week should provide management the added incentive it needs to bring serious proposals to the bargaining table that address our concerns.”
About 150 union pilots (FC) gathered in Calgary May 8 to demonstrate during WestJet’s annual general meeting. (CEO) Ed Sims acknowledged the picketers, but stuck by his stance that he will not negotiate a deal anywhere but at the bargaining table.
“The best role I can play with my negotiating team is to remain at the table and make progress,” Sims said. “We acknowledge the outcome of this vote and recognize the mandate (WJI) pilots (FC) have given (ALPA).”
The 2 sides suggest that talks during conciliation have been productive, but they remain divided on the key issue of staffing (WJI)’s Swoop (ULCC). Without a deal in place with current employee groups, the airline is hiring many pilots (FC) from outside of Canada (including many Canadian nationals), it said. The union wants assurances that those jobs are theirs, or (at the very least) Swoop flying will not supplant WestJet (WJI) flying. (WJI) executives say they remain on track to start Swoop next month, and are preparing for the worst-cast scenario if pilots (FC) walk out.
“We have been working for a considerable amount of time on potential contingency plans,” Sims said. He declined to offer specifics.
The threat of a strike has hit bookings, Sims said, forcing the carrier to revise second-quarter (RASM) guidance downward, and pause any longer-term guidance projections.
News Item A-3: WestJet (WJI)’s premium-economy (PY) seat trial has paid off, convincing (WJI) to launch a fleet-wide retrofit that will see new, larger 2-by-2 seats replacing the current 3-by-3 test configuration that uses a blocked middle seat. (WJI) plans to start the modification work on its Boeing 737 fleet late this year and expects it to take about 18 months. (WJI) introduced its premium-economy (PY), or "Plus" product using the blocked middle seat.
News Item A-4: "WestJet (CEO): ‘This is not Norwegian’ by Aaron Karp in AirKarp, Aaron Karp/Aviation Daily (email@example.com) May 2, 2018.
It’s been common to lump WestJet (WJI) in with the likes of Norwegian (NWG) as a carrier trying to make long-haul, low-cost service work. With Boeing 787s starting to join (WJI)’s fleet next year, it has seemed intuitive that (WJI) (traditionally an (LCC) and about to launch a (ULCC) subsidiary) would be entering the growing long-haul, low-cost sector.
But that is not actually the case. New (CEO) Ed Sims, whose background includes running Air New Zealand’s long-haul operations, views (WJI)’s coming long-haul offering as more akin to Air New Zealand (ANZ)’s (and Air Canada (ACN)’s) long-haul offering than Norwegian (NWG)/(NAI)/(NUK)’s.
(WJI)’s 787 service “certainly won’t be (ULCC) long-haul,” Sims said in a recent conversation. “This is not Norwegian. I want every inch of real estate on the airplane to work as hard as possible from a yield perspective. Those 24 seats in [WJI)’s 787] premium economy (PY) will be the hardest working yield on the airplane.”
On its 787s, (WJI) plans a traditional business (C) class cabin with lie-flat seats, an international premium economy (PY) offering and, more broadly, a long-haul product with a “mainline” feel.
Increasingly, it looks like Sims replacing Gregg Saretsky as (WJI)’s (CEO) in March marked a fairly clean break from (WJI)’s past and the beginning of its future. At the time, Sims spoke of the “next chapter” for (WJI) and credited Saretsky with setting “the foundation for (WJI)’s global evolution.” Sims will pilot (WJI) through that evolutionary step.
In conversation, Sims noted (WJI) is becoming more of a hub-and-spoke carrier (“We’re building hubs to feed the Dreamliner,” he explained), is preparing to open airport lounges, and is making other changes (such as equipping onboard kitchens to cook hot food) that position it to compete as an elite global airline. “A lot of the changes are subtle but very significant,” he said.
June 2018: News Item A-1: WestJet (WJI) commenced flights between Halifax (YHZ) and Paris (CDG) on May 31, with Paris, the French capital becoming (WJI)’s 1st destination in mainland Europe. “This is a historic moment for (WJI) as we touch down on the European mainland for the 1st time,” said Tim Croyle, Interim Executive VP Commercial, (WJI).
“This new service reinforces our confidence in Atlantic Canada and our ongoing support of Nova Scotia’s tourism and economic development objectives outlined in its "Atlantic Gateway" initiative. Paris is the latest milestone chapter in (WJI)’s drive to become a truly global airline, bringing Canada to the world and the world to Canada.”
This is the 2nd transatlantic service to launch with (WJI) from Halifax in recent weeks, with a route to London Gatwick having begun on April 29. Halifax is also linked to Glasgow by (WJI).
The 4,870 km transatlantic service to Paris will be served by (WJI) daily using its fleet of 737 MAX 8s, with this being the only non-stop operation between Halifax and Europe’s 2nd busiest airport.
Halifax is no stranger to the departures board of Paris (CDG), having being connected to the city, courtesy of Europe Airpost ((ASL) Airlines France) which flew between the 2 airports on a weekly basis via Dublin in the summer seasons of 2015, 2016 and 2017.
News Item A-2: Transport Canada (TC) has granted the air operator’s certificate (AOC) for WestJet (WJI)’s new ultra-low cost carrier (ULCC) Swoop, clearing the way for inaugural flights on June 20.
News Item A-3: "WestJet (ULCC) Swoop Makes Inaugural Flight, Looks to Expand Quickly" by Sean Broderick (firstname.lastname@example.org) June 21, 2018.
WestJet (ULCC) subsidiary, Swoop (SWO) took to the skies June 20 with an early-morning inaugural flight from Hamilton to Abbotsford, marking the next major development in what is an expanding Canadian low-cost airline scene.
(SWO)’s other initial route links Hamilton to Halifax. On June 25, Edmonton and Winnipeg will be added to the network, and (SWO) will ramp up to a scheduled 90x-weekly departures by mid-August.
“Our inaugural journey is just beginning,” Swoop (SWO) President & (CEO) Steven Greenway said. “We’ll be progressively rolling out new routes and destinations in the coming months and years to come.”
(SWO) operates 189-seat Boeing 737-800s supplied by its parent WestJet (WJI). While the airlines belong to the same family and will soon share a group of pilots (FC) under a single, Air Line Pilots Association-negotiated contract, (SWO) is operated as a separate entity.
(SWO)’s launch puts WestJet (WJI) a step closer to its primary competitor, Air Canada (ACN). (ACN), the long-time Canadian flag carrier has a well-established (LCC) subsidiary, "rouge" that has a lower cost base designed to satisfy demand for low-fare travelers and still make money. (SWO) will serve a similar role in the (WJI) family, while the mainline carrier concentrates on more lucrative markets and, starting next year, an expanded fleet that will include Boeing 787s.
Meanwhile, several Canadian upstarts are eyeing a (ULCC) market that accounts for very little of the 140 million annual passengers that use Canadian airports. Flair Airlines (FLV) recently doubled its weekly schedule to 200 flights, declaring Edmonton as both its new headquarters and primary hub in the process. Another startup, Canada Jetlines, planned to be airborne by now but has pushed back its start to sometime in 2019, and has lined up 2 Airbus A320s from Irish lessor AerCap (DEA) to get it off the ground.
737 MAX 8 (60517, C-FNWD), ex-(N1786B) delivery.
July 2018: News Item A-1: "Delta, WestJet Finalize Transborder (JV)" by Aaron Karp,(ATW) Plus, July 20, 2018.
Delta Air Lines (DAL) and WestJet (WJI) have signed a definitive agreement to form an antitrust-immunized transborder joint venture (JV), finalizing the details of a proposed partnership announced in late 2017 via the signing of an (MOU). The (JV) would mark (DAL)’s 8th cross-border agreement with another airline that features a (JV) or an equity stake or both.
News Item A-2: 737 MAX 8 (
August 2018: News Item A-1: "Officials Investigate WestJet Encore Q400, (UAV) Near-miss at Edmonton" by Bill Carey (email@example.com), August 7, 2018.
Edmonton, Canada police are investigating a near miss involving an unidentified unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, and a WestJet (WJI) Encore Dash 8-Q400 twin turboprop on approach to Edmonton International Airport on July 31.
According to Transport Canada, the airplane was descending through 6,500 ft, 9 miles from the airport when pilots (FC) spotted “a white drone of undetermined size” off their left wing.
In an August 1 release, the (EPS) said it was notified of the incident by officials with air navigation service provider Nav Canada. The airliner was on approach “when the near-miss with the pallet-size drone occurred,” police said. No further information was available regarding the incident investigation.
According to the airline, WestJet Encore flight 3362 was arriving from Fort McMurray, Alberta at around 5:15 pm local time when pilots (FC) saw the drone at about 2,000 ft below the left wing. (WJI) did not provide the number of passengers and crew on the Dash 8-Q400, which has capacity for 78 passengers.
“Our flight crew (FC) continued their approach without incident or impact to operations as they determined there was no risk to the aircraft, guests or crew.”
Canada’s “Interim Order Respecting the Use of Model Aircraft” prohibits drone hobbyists from flying within 5.6 km/3.5 miles of an airport, seaplane base or areas where aircraft take off and land. The rule also prohibits recreational drone flights above 90 m/300 ft and within controlled airspace. Operators found to be in violation of the flight conditions are subject to fines of up to $3,000.
Interfering with another aircraft brings the possibility of other penalties. “Endangering the safety of an aircraft is a serious offense,” Transport Canada said. “Anyone who violates the regulations could be subject to additional fines of up to $25,000 and/or prison. This applies to drones of any size, used for any purpose.”
September 2018: Enjoy watching Canadian Rockies video:
October 2018: News Item A-1: "WestJet Unveils Global Future, New Brand Image", by China Aviation Daily, October 10, 2018.
WestJet (WJI) unveiled its refreshed brand including a national advertising campaign, its 1st 3 international Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner routes and a new Platinum WestJet Rewards tier at an event in downtown Calgary.
Ed Sims, (WJI) President & (CEO) was joined for the announcement by Canadian community and business leaders.
The refreshed brand image outlines (WJI)'s global ambitions and heralds new products aimed at international and Premium travelers. Called, "Love Where You're Going," the new (WJI) commercial can be viewed here.
"Today's announcement marks a pivotal time for (WJI)," said Ed Sims. "Love where you're going embodies both the thrill of travel and the sheer ambition we at (WJI) have for our airline. Our 13,000 WestJetters are unique assets, and what we deliver for our 24 million guests is something that cannot be replicated."
Guests will start to see the updated brand image and positioning reflected in many of (WJI)'s assets including westjet.com, WestJet's airport presence over time across Canada and gradually across the fleet. In addition to the announcement of the brand refresh, Sims also revealed today in Calgary that (WJI) will launch its 1st 3 787 Dreamliner non-stop routes from Calgary to Paris, Dublin and London to become the 1st Canadian airline to base its 787s out of (YYC) Calgary International Airport. Both announcements will have substantial beneficial economic impacts on the Alberta region.
Finally, as part of the new (WJI), Sims also announced that "WestJet Rewards" will introduce a new Platinum tier, making it easier for WestJet Rewards members to get even more value from the frequent flyer program as the airline heads global. The tier is targeted for launch later this year.
News Item A-2: WestJet (WJI) announced that it will add service to Barcelona from May 24, 2019 to October 21, 2019. The route will be operated 3x-weekly.
The route will be operated by Boeing 767-300ERs. The 767s have capacity for 262 passengers and include Premium and Economy cabins. Flights are timed to optimize connectivity throughout Ontario through (WJI)’s Toronto hub. Services will depart Toronto at 21:00 and arrive in Barcelona at 10:42 (+1 day). The return trip will depart Barcelona at 12:30 and arrive in Toronto at 15:25.
(WJI)’s European network also includes London Gatwick, Glasgow, Paris, and Dublin. (WJI) recently announced its first 787 Dreamliner routes, which will connect Calgary to Gatwick, Paris, and Dublin. (WJI) will receive its 1st 787 Dreamliner in late January, and routes will begin in Spring 2019.
(WJI) will also launch service between Calgary and Atlanta. (WJI) passengers will be able to connect to flights on Delta Air Lines, a (WJI) code share partner. The service will operate 6x-weekly starting March 3 and will increase to daily starting April 7. (WJI) will be the only airline to connect Calgary and Atlanta.
(WJI) will test services from St Johns to Fort Lauderdale between March 11 and May 13. The route will be operated on Saturdays and could be a signal for a seasonal or year-round service in the future.
News Item A-3: Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) was selected by WestJet (WJI) to provide total technical support for its
787s; the deal includes use of the "Aviator" digital platform (1st "Aviator" customer in North America).
News Item A-4: Visit Lake Louise, Canadian Rockies - see video:
November 2018: "WestJet to Launch Seasonal, Non-Stop Service to Dublin from Halifax" by China Aviation Daily, November 22, 2018.
WestJet (WJI) announced it is adding to its growing Atlantic gateway from Halifax with the addition of daily non-stop service to Dublin, Ireland starting April 29, 2019 through October 25, 2019. (WJI) continues to invest in Halifax with the addition of flights to Dublin on our efficient and guest-friendly Boeing 737 MAX this summer," said Tim Croyle, WestJet Executive VP Commercial. "We are proud to be the carrier with the most transatlantic flights from (YHZ) to destinations like Dublin, Paris, London and Glasgow, while being a strong driver of economic and employment growth in the region."
(WJI)'s Boeing 737 MAX features (WJI)'s Premium (PY) and Economy (Y) cabins, WestJet Connect and the Boeing Sky Interior. Flights are timed to optimize connectivity to and from flights from central Canada and the Atlantic provinces.
WestJet (WJI) has served Halifax International Airport for 15 years and this summer will operate non-stop service to 16 cities including London (Gatwick), Paris, Dublin, Glasgow, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. At peak summer schedule, (WJI) will operate > 25x-daily from (YHZ).
December 2018: News Item A-1: "WestJet, Qantas Expand Code Share Partnership" by Bill Carey (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 7, 2018.
WestJet (WJI) has expanded its code share relationship with Australia’s Qantas (QAN) by adding (QAN) operated flights between Los Angeles and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Itineraries connecting (WJI)’s network to the destinations in Australia are available now for flights beginning December 6. (WJI)’s (WS) code will be added on (QAN) daily flights between Los Angeles and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and its seasonal service between Vancouver and Sydney.
(WJI) and (QAN) have been code share partners since 2014. In addition to (QAN), (WJI) has code share agreements with 15 other international airlines. “(WJI), welcomes this deepened relationship with (QAN),” (WJI) VP Network Planning & Alliances Brian Znotins said. “Expanding our partnership with (QAN) provides our guests greater global travel options and aligns with the new premium products and services (WJI) is developing as we continue our evolution to a global network airline.”
News Item A-2: "Officials Investigate WestJet Encore Q400, (UAV) Near-miss at Edmonton" by Bill Carey (email@example.com), August 7, 2018.
Edmonton, Canada police are investigating a near miss involving an unidentified unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, and a WestJet (WJI) Encore Dash 8-Q400 twin turboprop on approach to Edmonton International Airport on July 31.
According to Transport Canada, the airplane was descending through 6,500 ft, 9 miles from the airport when pilots (FC) spotted “a white drone of undetermined size” off their left wing.
In an August 1 release, the (EPS) said it was notified of the incident by officials with air navigation service provider Nav Canada. The airliner was on approach “when the near-miss with the pallet-size drone occurred,” police said. No further information was available regarding the incident investigation.
According to the airline, WestJet Encore flight 3362 was arriving from Fort McMurray, Alberta at around 5:15 pm local time when pilots (FC) saw the drone at about 2,000 ft below the left wing. (WJI) did not provide the number of passengers and crew on the Dash 8-Q400, which has capacity for 78 passengers.
“Our flight crew (FC) continued their approach without incident or impact to operations as they determined there was no risk to the aircraft, guests or crew.”
Canada’s “Interim Order Respecting the Use of Model Aircraft” prohibits drone hobbyists from flying within 5.6 km/3.5 miles of an airport, seaplane base or areas where aircraft take off and land. The rule also prohibits recreational drone flights above 90 m/300 ft and within controlled airspace. Operators found to be in violation of the flight conditions are subject to fines of up to $3,000.
Interfering with another aircraft brings the possibility of other penalties. “Endangering the safety of an aircraft is a serious offense,” Transport Canada said. “Anyone who violates the regulations could be subject to additional fines of up to $25,000 and/or prison. This applies to drones of any size, used for any purpose.”
December 2018: News Item A-1: "WestJet, Swoop and (ALPA) Receive Arbitrator's Award on 1st Collective Agreement for Pilots" by China Aviation Daily, December 21, 2018.
WestJet (WJI) said that it has received the award of the arbitrator, Mr William Kaplan, in the interest arbitration between (WJI), Swoop (SWO) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).
The arbitrator's award, which is binding on all parties, follows mediated negotiations and formal arbitration hearings that have taken place since May 2018. The award sets the terms for the 1st collective agreement including all outstanding terms and conditions of employment for pilots (FC) at (WJI) and (SWO).
"Today's award provides (WJI) the ability to grow, operate a sustainable business and to compete effectively in the current operating environment," said Ed Sims, (WJI) President & (CEO). "The conclusion of this 1st agreement allows us to now turn our attention to the arrival of (WJI)'s 1st Boeing 787 Dreamliner and our transition to a global network carrier. I look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with our pilots (FC) as we deliver on our global future." (ALPA) represents approximately 1,600 (WJI) and (SWO) pilots (FC) not including WestJet Encore.
WestJet Encore pilots (FC) are represented by (ALPA) in a separate bargaining unit, which is currently engaged in collective bargaining with the company.
(WJI) will meet with (ALPA) leadership in early January 2019 to review the terms of the award and work towards finalizing the collective agreement. Due to the scope and complexity of the work required, (WJI) will not provide further comment at this time. (WJI) remains committed to working directly with the pilots (FC)'s representation. The details of the collective agreement will be communicated when finalized.
News Item A-2: "Record 82,000 Passengers Choose the Westjet Group for Their Holiday Travel on Friday, December 21, 2018" by China Aviation Daily, December 22, 2018.
As the busy holiday travel season continues, the WestJet Group set a new record for guests flown in a single day for the 4th time this year. The WestJet Group: including WestJet (WJI), WestJet Encore, Swoop (SWO) and WestJet Link flew single day 82,618 passengers, surpassing the previous record of 80,219 set on August 7, 2018.
News Item A-3: WestJet (WJI) appointed Arved von zur Muehlen as its next Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).
Click below for photos:
WJI-737-275 - C-GWJG
WJI-737-704 C-FGWJ Canada Air 2017-04.jpg
WJI-737-7CT - 2015-06-To Glasgow.jpg
WJI-737-800 - 2015-03
WJI-737-800 Disney 2018-09.jpg
WJI-737-832 - 9
WJI-737-832 - AI
WJI-737-MAX - 2013-08
WJI-737-MAX 8 - 2017-09.jpg
WJI-737-MAX 8 - C-GXAX 2018-02.jpg
WJI-767-300ER - 1st 2015-08.jpg
WJI-767-300ERW - 2017-02.jpg
WJI-787 New Livery 2018-05.jpg
WJI-787-9 - 2017-05.jpg
WJI-Q400 - 2012-10
WJI-Q400 - 2013-11
0 737-2A3 (JT8D-9A) (158-20299, /69 C-GWJO), EX-(IBE)/(SAH). WFU 2003-01, DONATED TO KINGSTON UNIVERSITY. 125Y.
0 737-2E3 (JT8D-15A) (811-22703, /81 C-FCWJ), EX-(LDE)/(PLI), SOLD IN USA 2006-04. 125Y.
0 737-2H4 (JT8D-9A) (423-21117, /75 C-GWJU; 470-21262, /76 C-GWJT; 544-21593, /78 C-GSWJ; 609-21811, /79 C-FKWJ), EX-(SWA), HEAVY MAINTENANCE AT DALFORT, 21262 DONATED TO BC INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY 2003-10. 21117 RETIRED 2004-07 AS TRAINER. 21593; 21811; SOLD TO APOLLO AVIATION 2005-05. 125Y.
1 737-2M8 (JT8D-15) (659-21955, /80, C-FIWJ), EX-(TEA)/(TCI)/(AMW) 7/00, "D" MAINTENANCE CHECK AT (COO), 125Y.
0 737-2Q8 (JT8D-15) (1059-23148, /84, C-FLWJ), (PSS) LEASED 2000-05, SOLD 2006-03 IN USA. 125Y.
0 737-2T4 (JT8D-15) (633-22055, /80 C-GEWJ), EX-(FLA)/(CQT)/(UAG), SOLD TO APOLLO AVIATION 2005-07. 125Y.
0 737-204 (JT8D-15) (341-20807, /74 C-GUWJ; 542-21694, /78 C-GWWJ), EX-(BRI)/(PCH), (TIA) 5 YEAR LEASED 1999-03. 20807; 21694; RETURNED 2006-02, TO APOLLO AVIATION. 125Y.
0 737-217 (JT8D-9A) (143-20196, /69 C-FGWJ), EX-(CPA)/(FLH), 125Y.
0 737-269 (JT8D-17) (448-21206, /76 C-GWJK), EX-(KUW), (STJ), (FCT), (AUB), SOLD TO (AUB) 2006-03. 125Y.
0 737-275 (JT8D-9A) (300-20588, /72 C-GWJE; 315-20670, /72 C-GWJG), EX-(PWA)/(ATJ), SOLD TO APOLLO AVIATION 2005-11. 125Y.
0 737-281 (JT8D-17) (296-20563, /72, C-GGOF), EX-(ANA) 2000-06, PARTED OUT, & USED AS CABIN TRAINER.
0 737-281 (JT8D-17) (583-21766, /79 C-GXWJ; 585-21767, /79 C-FTWJ; 586-21768, /79 C-GVWJ; 587-21769, /79 C-GQWJ; 594-21771, /79 C-GMWJ; 588-21770, /79 C-FAWJ), EX-(ANA), 21766 SOLD TO APOLLO AVIATION 2005-07. 21768; 21769; 21771; SOLD TO APOLLO AVIATION 2005-12. 21768; LEASED TO AEROSUR 2006-11. 125Y.
0 737-284 (JT8D) (491-21500, /77 C-GGWJ), EX-(ALO), (GEF) 5 YEAR LEASED. SOLD TO APOLLO AVIATION 2005-07.
0 737-297 (JT8D-9A) (561-21739, /79 C-GCWJ), EX-(ALO)/(INH), SCRAPPED 2003-10. 125Y.
13 737-6CT (CFM56-7B) (1759-34284, C-GPWS, 8/05; 1797-34285, C-GWSB; 1816-34286, C-GWSI, 2005-11; 1862-34621, C-GWSJ, 2006-06; 1884-34633, C-GWSL, 2006-03; 1912-34287, C-GWSK, 2006-03; 1931-34288, C-GBWS, 2006-04; 1956-34289, C-GWJU, 2006-06; 2016-35112, C-GWCT, 2006-08; 2022-35113, C-GWCY, 2006-08; 2032-35570, C-GXWJ, 2006-08; 2032-35570, C-GXWJ, 2006-08; 2045-35571, C-GEWJ, 2006-09; 35111, C-GWCQ, 2006-07). 119Y.
35 OPTIONS 737-700 (CFM56-7B24):
31 737-7CT (CFM56-7B24) (1222-32753, /02 C-FWAD; 1246-33656, /02 C-FWAI; 1239-32747, /02 C-FWAF; 1254-33657, /02 C-FWAO; 1266-32748, /03 C-FWAQ; 1281-32749, /03 C-FWBG; 1286-32750, /03 C-FWBL; 1346-32698, /03 C-FWCN; 1370-32757, /03 C-GWBF; 1385-32754, /03 C-GWBJ; 1396-32755, /03 C-GWBT; 1413-32765, /03 C-GWCM; 1431-32758, /03 C-FWSF; 32761, C-FWSX; 1522-32763, C-GWAZ, 2004-06; 1553-32764, C-GCWI 2004-08; 1556-33970, C-GCWJ 2004-08; 1557-33969, C-GWJO, 2004-06; 1574-32765, C-FUWS, 2004-09; 1599-32766, C-GWJF, 2004-11; 32767, 2005-01; 32768, 2005-03; 32770, C-GZWS; 32771, C-FMWJ, 2005-07; 1879-32772, C-GYWJ, 2006-02; 1772-34155, C-GWBN, 2005-08; 1793-34156, C-GWBX, 2005-10; 1818-34157, C-GWCN, 2005-11; 2334-35503, C-GGWJ, 2007-07; 2366-35504, C-GWJG, 2007-09; 2436-35505, C-GQWJ, 2007-11; 2484-36421, C-GVWJ, 2008-01; 2497-34622, C-GUWJ, 2008-01; 3529-40338, 2011-01). 136Y.
2 737-7CT (CFM56-7B24) (2185-30712, C-GIWJ, 2007-02; 2220-30713, C-FTWJ, 2007-03), (ILF) LEASED 2007-02. 136Y.
11 737-7CT (CFM56-7B24) (2431-35078, C-GWJE, 2007-11; 2564-35084, C-GWJK, 2008-04; 35086, C-FCWJ, 2008-05; 2860-36689, C-GWSU, 2009-04; 2983-36691, C-FWSI, 2009-08; 3080-37088, C-FBWS, 2009-11; 3090-37089, C-GWSN, 2009-11; 3092-37090, C-GWSO, 2009-11; 3108-36693, C-GWSP, 2009-12; 3134-37091, C-GWSQ, 2009-12; 37421, C-GWSY, 2010-02), (SIL) LEASED.
1 737-7CT (CFM56-7B24) (3520-38096, C-FLWJ, 2011-01), (CGP) LEASED.
13 737-76N (CFM56-7B24) (851-32404, /01 C-FIWS; 872-28651, /01 C-FJWS; 905-30134, /01 C-FJWS), (GEF) 14 YEAR LEASED 2001-04. WINGLETS. 136Y.
5 +5 ORDERS 737-76N (CFM56-7B24) (1155-32881, /02 C-GRWS; 1216-33379, /02 C-GWSE; 1258-29886, /02 C-GWSH; 29883; 1179-32883, /02 C-GTWS; 1206-33378, /02 C-GUWS), (GEF) LEASED. WINGLETS. 136Y.
1 737-8CT (CFM56-7B) (32769, C-FEWJ), (PSS) LEASED 2005-03. 166Y.
16 737-8CT (CFM56-7B) (1719-32770, C-GZWS, 2005-06; 34151, C-GKWJ; 34152, C-GJWS, 2005-06; 1731-34153, C-GWSA, 2005-06; 1734-34154, C-GWBL, 2005-06; 2323-35502, C-FAWJ, 2007-07; 2436-35505, C-GQWJ; 3931-39071, C-GWRG, 2012-02; 60128, C-FUMF, 2015-01; 60132, C-FUCD, 2015-05; 39082, C-GXRW, 2015-07; 40336, C-FYBK, 2015-11; 40836, C-FLBV, 2015-11; 40838, C-FLSF, 2015-11; 40839, C-FYPB, 2015-11; 40840, C-FZRM, 2016-10). 166Y.
6 737-8CT (CFM56-7B) (2524-35080, C-GWWJ, 2008-02; 2987-36690, C-FWSE, 2009-08; 37092, C-GWSZ, 2010-02; 36696, C-GWSX, 2010-06; 39075, C-GWBU, 2014-06; 39076, C-FWJS, 2014-06), (SIL) LEASED. 166Y.
2 737-8CT (CFM56-7B) (2802-35288, C-GWSR, 2009-02; 2841-37158, C-GWSV, 2009-03), (ILF) 8 YEAR LEASED.
1 737-8CT (CFM56-7B) (39092, C-FCNW), (CGP) LEASED.
10 ORDERS (2016-02) 737-800 NEXTGEN:
0 737-832 (CFM56-7B) (729-30541, N3739P; 30800, N3740C), (DAL) 7 MONTH LEASED 2002-07, RETURNED 2002-11. 166Y.
25 ORDERS 737 MAX 7 (CFM LEAP-1B):
8 +25 ORDERS 737 MAX 8 (CFM LEAP-1B) (60510, C-FRAX; 60511, C-FRAN) (2017-09; 60516, C-GZSG, 2018-07; 6980-60517, C-FNWD, 2018-06; C-GXAX), 174Y.
12 ORDERS (2022-02) 737 MAX 10:
0 757-21KER (RB211-535E4) (746-28674, /97 G-GJZS), (JMA) WET-LEASED TO 2011-11. 211Y
0 757-28AER (RB211-535E4) (658-26277, /95 N750NA - - SEE PHOTO - - "WJA-2011-02-757-28AER"), (NNA) WET-LEASED 2011-02 - 2011-04. 211Y.
0 767-200, (OAI) WET-LEASED 1 MONTH 2015-12.
1 767-300 (OAI) WET-LEASED 1 MONTH 2015-12.
4 767-338ER (25274, C-FOGJ; 25576, C-GOGN), EX-(VH-OGJ), EX-(QAN) 2015-08. 24 PY, 238Y.
4 ORDERS 787-8:
6/10 ORDERS (2019-02) 787-9 (C-GUHD, EVERETT FLIGHT LINE 2018-12:
1 DASH 8-402 (4536, C-GJEN), 2016-11 FOR WESTJET ENCORE REGIONAL OPERATIONS.
47 +10 OPTIONS BOMBARDIER DASH 8-Q400 (4441, C-FHEN, 2013-06; 4471, C-FOWE, 2014-06; 4473, C-FQWE, 2014-06; 4487, C-GWEF, 2015-02; 4493, C-GWEU, 2015-05; 4496, C-FENJ, 2015-05; 4515, C-FJWE, 2016-01; 4548, C-FWEP, 2017-02; 4556, C-GWJK, 2017-05; 4579, C-FTEN, 2018-08) FOR WESTJET ENCORE REGIONAL OPERATIONS. 78Y.
Click below for photos:
WJI-1-CLIVE BEDDOE FOUNDER
WJI-2-GREGG SARETSKY-A - 2012-08
CLIVE BEDDOE, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN (ONE OF 4 FOUNDERS). GAVE UP CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO) POSITION IN (2007-09).
ED SIMS, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO), EX-AIR NEW ZEALAND (ANZ) (2018-03).
Ed Sims, who has held senior positions with Air New Zealand (ANZ) and formerly was (CEO) of New Zealand air navigation service provider Airservices, was named (WJI)’s new President & (CEO). He also was appointed to (WJI)’s board of directors with immediate effect. When Ed joined (WJI) as Executive VP Commercial in May 2017, leaving the top spot at Airservices to do so, he was touted as bringing valuable experience in long-haul international airline operations. Ed ran Air New Zealand (ANZ)’s long-haul wide body operations.
GREGG SARETSKY, PRESIDENT & (CEO), EX-(CDI)/(ASA) (2010-03) RESIGNED 2018-03.
Gregg Saretsky announced March 8 that he was stepping down “effective immediately” after 8 years leading (WJI).
"AIRLINE BUSINESS" INTERVIEW, AUGUST 2012:
At WestJet (WJI)’s offices near the Calgary International airport, airline staff work while facing floor-to-ceiling glass windows encasing the light-filled building. The window views, normally reserved for top executives in most corporate environments, belong to what (WJI) (CEO) Gregg Saretsky calls the “worker bees.”
(WJI)’s offices were designed to ensure that: “WestJetters who are doing the real hard work have the best of the facility,” in Gregg’s words. The (CEO)’s office is inside the building overlooking the atrium, with none of the views that his staff can boast of. Neither does the head of an airline that employs 8,600 staff get a reserved parking space at (WJI). “If I come in late, I get the back lot if it’s minus 40, I’m walking in,” he quipped.
Gregg attributed (WJI)’s culture as 1 of the factors behind its success. Only 16 years old, (WJI) has steadily grown its market share to 37% since it launched in 1996. It now operates to 81 destinations in North America and the Caribbean and ended 2012 with a fleet of 100 737s. (WJT) has also consistently profitable, posting a +65% growth in net profit in 2011 to +C$149 million/+$149 million.
Gregg, who took over the helm at (WJI) in April 2010, is embarking upon the next stage of (WJI)’s growth (a new regional carrier that will begin operations in 2013, with a fleet of Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprops).
(WJI)’s progress came as its rival Air Canada (ACN) continued to fumble in its attempt to launch a low-cost carrier (LCC), a plan that never got off the ground as the legacy airline grappled with tumultuous relations with its unions. (WJI), on the other hand, won support from its non-unionized staff to launch the new regional carrier. >90% of its employees voted in favor of the new airline in February 2012. Putting the regional airline plan to a vote among its staff, was a move that raised eyebrows in the industry, said Gregg. He recalled with a grin, “They said: ‘You are actually going to give your strategic plan to your employees and let them vote on whether it makes sense?’”
Odd as (WJI)’s competitors might find (WJI)’s approach, Gregg said engaging his staff was key to (WJI)’s success. About 85% of (WJI)’s employees own shares in the airline.
“If you have 85% of your employees who are owners, they care about the health of the business; they care about the guest service they provide,” said Gregg. And having that backing in place would be crucial in (WJI)’s endeavor to launch a new regional carrier, as it seeks to expand its presence in the region.
(WJI) is targeted launching the new regional carrier in the 3rd quarter of 2013, a move with which Gregg aimed to “recreate a little bit of history”. The regional subsidiary started out along the same lines as (WJI) by operating a single airplane type, starting small, then building strength by growing the network out of large centers.
(WJI) received its 1st Dash 8-Q400 in June 2013 and received one a month to end 2013 with 7 Dash 8-Q400s. It received another 7 or 8 airplanes in 2014. (WJI) ordered 20 airplanes, as well as 25 options, from Bombardier (BMB).
Eventually, the regional carrier had 2 bases: – Calgary and Toronto.
With the new regional carrier, (WJI) opened up markets that were too small to be served efficiently with (WJI)’s 737s.
(WJI) played host to >30 small communities that arrived in Calgary to pitch themselves as possible destinations for (WJI). Gregg estimated that as many as 40 such small communities benefited from (WJI) service. Besides new destinations, the regional carrier opened up flights between cities already in (WJI)’s network, but which did not have service between them, such as Regina and Winnipeg. (WJI) also used the new subsidiary to improve its flight schedule, such as adding turboprop-operated services during off-peak hours on existing routes that would not require jets during those periods.
Gregg also did not rule out deploying the regional carrier on flights in the hotly contested air traffic corridor between Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, also known as the "Eastern Triangle."
(WJI) expected its new regional carrier to lower fares and stimulate demand in some of its markets that had been long monopolized by Air Canada (ACN). Pointing out that (WJI)’s jet operations had helped lower fares in certain communities after they started service, Gregg said: “We believe there was a decent amount of market stimulation available in the regional space.”
(WJI) accepted suggestions on the regional carrier’s name from its employees. Gregg said (WJI) was looking for a name “that represented the national footprint, one that was easily translatable.”
The name aside, the new carrier featured (WJI)’s branding strongly. The Dash 8-Q400s were painted in (WJI)’s livery, featuring (WJI)’s leather seats and the new airline’s name only made an appearance in distribution systems and flight announcements as the operating carrier. Flights by the regional carrier still carry (WJI)’s code and airline check-in counters will bear (WJI)’s signage, said Gregg.
(WJI) added about +1,800 new staff to run the regional arm, and staff uniforms bore a strong resemblance to those worn by (WJI) staff. “We tried to keep them as similar as possible, maybe they had a small differentiating feature, like a different colored scarf, or a different wing on their lapel,” said Gregg.
Despite adding a level of complexity to (WJI)’s business model, Gregg thought there were no major challenges faced by (WJI) in rolling out the new regional subsidiary. There was some uncertainty over the timing of the issue of the air operator’s certificate (AOC) and the airplane delivery schedule. “We were a brand new customer for them [Bombardier (BMB)], so we did not have experience with their timeline and deliveries.” (WJI) staff also had to become familiar with the Dash 8-Q400 since it was a new airplane type for (WJI), he added.
(WJI) was not the only Canadian carrier with Dash 8-Q400s when its regional subsidiary launched (Toronto-based rival, Porter Airlines operated Dash 8-Q400s and had built up a strong customer base among the business community, boosted by its links with Toronto City Billy Bishop airport.
Despite operating similar airplanes, Gregg dismissed any talk of co-operating with Porter, saying that (WJI) was focused on building a standalone regional operation that “would benefit from (WJI)’s brand”.
Aside from launching a new regional subsidiary, Gregg led a series of projects aimed at increasing revenue of (WJI)’s 737 operations. (WJI) was to roll out a premium-economy (PY) product on its narrow body airplanes, which had long offered a single-class service.
Simultaneously, (WJI) also added 8 seats to each of its 737-800s, increasing the on-board capacity to 174 from 166. The seat changes were floated previously by (WJI)’s executives as a tool to boost (WJT)’s market share of 22% among business (C) travelers, and were given the green light at a board meeting on July 31. The project involved re-configuring 4 rows, or 24 seats, into premium economy (PY) seats on all of (WJI)’s 737 airplanes. The extra 8 economy-class (Y) seats on the 737-800s reduced seat pitch on those airplanes to 31 - 32 inches, down from 34 inches. This brought it in line with the seat pitches on the 737-600s and 737-700s, said Gregg.
(WJI) began the seat reconfiguration in the 4th quarter of 2012 and completed it on all aircraft in the 1st quarter of 2013. Gregg, who expected the initiative to cost in the “multi-millions”, said the project did not impact operations, pointing out that the 4th quarter was traditionally (WJI)’s slowest quarter.
Besides gaining new revenue from the seat re-configurations, (WJI) was also on the cusp of its next generation in-flight entertainment (IFE) offering. Keeping up with the times and with what other airlines were offering, it eventually offered wi-fi on its fleet and equipped its airplanes with on-board servers that streamed content to travelers’ personal devices.
(WJI) now offers live television, provided by Bell, on seat back monitors in its airplanes, but later changes to satellite infrastructure meant that (WJI) flights would lose the signal on flights outside Canada. As a result, (WJI) would continue to offer live television on domestic flights, but opened up 4 pay-per-view channels free-of-charge to passengers on flights to the USA.
Meanwhile, (WJI) took delivery of new 737s that were not fitted with the system. On these airplanes, (WJI) conducted a trial of renting out Samsung Galaxy tablets pre-loaded with content to passengers on flights 3 hours and longer. The tablets were meant to be a “bridge” as (WJI) crossed over to a Wi-Fi-enabled in-flight entertainment (IFE) solution, said Gregg.
Looking ahead, (WJI)’s fleet was expected to grow to as large as 135 airplanes by the end of 2018 or remain almost flat at 102 airplanes, if (WJI) chose to return the airplanes coming off their leases in the following 6 years.
(WJI)’s new airplane deliveries from 2013 through 2018 were 737-700s, but Gregg said (WJI) would convert most of them to 737-800s.
(WJI) has also bewen keen on the 737 MAX, and was in talks with Boeing (TBC) on price tags, said Gregg. “The savings are entirely in the fuel burn, which Boeing (TBC) said was in the neighborhood of -12%. So as long as the price wasn’t +13% higher, then the math worked.”
Gregg was also not ruling out converting existing 737 Next Generation orders to the 737 MAX. “If it was possible, and if the price was attractive, that would be something we would be crazy to not be interested in.”
STEVEN GREENWAY, PRESIDENT SWOOP, EX-(SCT) (2018-03).
Steven was formerly (CCO) for Singapore Airlines (SIA)’s (LCC) subsidiary Scoot (SCT). He takes over the Swoop helm from Bob Cummings, the WestJet (WJI) executive in charge of Swoop’s launch. Bob was named WestJet Executive VP, Strategy & Guest Services. Both Greenway and Cummings will report directly to (WJI) President & (CEO) Gregg Saretsky. He is responsible “for all strategic aspects of Swoop, including short and long-term planning, branding, pricing, product development and operationalization of the (ULCC) in 2018 and beyond.”
BOB CUMMINGS, EXECUTIVE VP STRATEGY & GUEST SERVICES (2018-03).
CHARLES DUNCAN, PRESIDENT WESTJET ENCORE.
HARRY TAYLOR, EXECUTIVE VP FINANCE & CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO) (2015-09). Harry came from being Senior VP Finance at Canadian Tire Corporation.
CAM KENYON, EXECUTIVE VP OPERATIONS.
ROCKY WIGGINS, EXECUTIVE VP CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER (CIO), EX-(SCA)/(CQT)/(USA) (2014-06).
Rocky Wiggins Senior VP & (CIO), joined AirTran Airways (CQT) in September 2000. In this position, Rocky had overseen the airline's Internal & External Computer & Telephone Systems, including a new Automated Telephone Reservation system. Rocky's more recently served as VP Delivery Management, for the Chief Technology Officer at Sabre, Inc. He was responsible for the implementation of Sabre's Airline Support Systems, including the Scheduling, Pricing, Yield Management, Frequent Traveler & Crew Planning systems. Prior to Sabre, Rocky served as Senior Director Market Planning Systems Development for US Airways (USA). He began his tenure at (USA) in 1979, as an Analyst in Central Reservations Control. A 25-year veteran of the airline industry, Rocky began his airline career at Air Kentucky Airlines. A native of Owensboro, Kentucky, Rocky studied Engineering at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Physics at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Rocky lived in Manassas, Virginia, with his wife and 4 children.
FRED RING, EXECUTIVE VP CORPORATE PROJECTS (2006-01).
MATTHEW HANDFORD, EXECUTIVE VP PEOPLE (2006-01).
HUGH DUNLEAVY, EXECUTIVE VP STRATEGY & PLANNING (2006-09).
GARETH DAVIES, VP TECHNICAL SERVICES (2000-04).
MS JANICE PAGE, VP CONTROLLER & CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO) (INTERNAL) (2006-06).
DEREK PAYNE, VP FINANCE & CORPORATE SERVICES, & CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO) (EXTERNAL) (2006-06).
ARVED VON ZUR MUEHLEN, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER (CCO) (2018-12).
LAURI FESER, VP MARKETING.
BILL LAMBERTON, VP MARKETING & SALES.
BRIAN ZNOTINS VP NETWORK PLANNING & ALLIANCES.
CHRIS AVERY, VP CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT.
TYSON MATHESON, VP IN-FLIGHT.
GANDEEPHAN GANESHALINGAM, VP LEAN & CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT EX-(GE) CANADA (2018-02).
Gandeephan was with (GE) Canada, where he most recently served as Chief Innovation Officer. There, he supported WestJet (WJI) on several initiatives including an artificial intelligence project to improve dispatch reliability for (WJI)’s Boeing 767s.
STUART MCDONALD, VP & CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER (CTO) EX-(CAT)(2018-01).
Stuart most recently served as VP Strategic Initiatives, and VP Employee Enablement at (TD) Bank. Prior to his time at (TD), Stuart held leadership roles in the Technology and Telecom industries in Hong Kong and Australia, including 2 years with Cathay Pacific (CAT) as Head of Enterprise Programs. He plans to work with (WJI) to build out the global technology footprint needed to meet (WJI)’s expansion plans.
SCOTT GROH, VP CREW RESOURCES EX-(QTA)/(EHD) (2018-01).
Scott most recently worked for Qatar Airways (QTA) as Senior VP Crew Resources, Flight Operations. Scott also held the position of VP Crew Resources for Etihad Airways (EHD) for 9 years and >30 years of experience in Crew Planning, and Crew Scheduling Operations. Scott’s experience with a complex fleet mix and schedule network involving >200 aircraft, 3,500 pilots (FC), and 11,000 cabin crew (CA) members with full-service global airlines will help (WJI) prepare for the challenges and opportunities of deploying its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet and global network plans.
CAPTAIN BRUCE FLODSTEDT, DIRECTOR FLIGHT OPERATIONS (firstname.lastname@example.org).
MIKE COMPSTON, DIRECTOR MAINTENANCE (email@example.com) (1999-10).
GERRY HINDS, DIRECTOR, CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER (CIO) - NOTE: NEW (CIO) ROCKY WIGGINS TOOK OVER (2014-06).
STEVEN OGLE, CHIEF MAINTENANCE OFFICER (CMO) (2001-10).
HAL DAVIDSON, DIRECTOR HEAVY MAINTENANCE (2000-04).
TOM WOODS, DIRECTOR LINE MAINTENANCE.
RUSS WHITE, DIRECTOR QUALITY ASSURANCE (QA).
KELLY MATTOON, DIRECTOR TECHNICAL SERVICES (2001-11).
MICHELE GALLAHER, DIRECTOR OPERATIONS CONTROL.
JOHN WEATHERHILL, DIRECTOR NETWORK & SCHEDULE PLANNING.
VIC LUKAWITSKI, MANAGER OPERATIONS AUDIT PROGRAM, EX-WARDAIR,
SCOTT DANIELS, MANAGER LINE MAINTENANCE.
BJARNI HENRICKSON, MANAGER PLANNING (2000-01).
DAVE PATTERSON, MANAGER TECHNICAL SUPPORT SERVICES.
SCOTT BUTLER, PROJECT MANAGER 737NG IMPLEMENTATION (2000-12).
RON WHALEN, MANAGER MAINTENANCE & OPERATIONS TRAINING (2000-09).
ROBERT PALMER, PUBLIC RELATIONS (PR) MANAGER.
CAPTAIN KEVAN HOLLANDS, CHIEF PILOT LINE OPERATIONS.
CAPTAIN LEN LINZINOWICH, CHIEF PILOT TRAINING & STANDARDS.
MIKE PLOTTEL, FLIGHT SAFETY OFFICER (firstname.lastname@example.org).