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CALGARY — Ed Sims has been named President and CEO of WestJet, taking over from Gregg Saretsky whose retirement from the company is effective immediately.
Saretsky joined WestJet in June 2009 as Vice-President, WestJet Vacations, before assuming the role of Executive Vice-President, Operations, in October 2009.
In March 2010 Saretsky took on the role of President and CEO and under his leadership WestJet saw significant growth, nearly doubling its fleet, launching WestJet Encore, introducing the airline’s first codeshare partnerships and WestJet Rewards, introducing wide-body aircraft and launching new service to Europe.
“Gregg has taken WestJet to new heights during his tenure and the airline would not be in the strong position it is without Gregg’s business knowledge, drive and work ethic, and his focus on low costs,” said Clive Beddoe, WestJet Board of Directors’ Chair.
Saretsky adds: “For the past eight years, it’s been my privilege to lead team WestJet through a tremendous period of growth and success. I am pleased with the continued growth and profitability we’ve achieved together. With plans well underway for the launch of Swoop and the introduction of the 787-9 Dreamliners on the horizon, as well as the great work WestJetters do each day, I’m confident WestJet will continue to grow to the next chapter and beyond.
“I am proud of the many great things we have accomplished together during my time as President and CEO, and I wish WestJet well in the next chapter of its growth and evolution.”
Effective today current Executive Vice-President Commercial, Ed Sims takes on the role of President and CEO.
Sims says that in his time at WestJet, “I’ve been inspired by the team’s ability to care from the heart while acting like owners. WestJet has a strong challenger’s spirit, and I’m thrilled to be able to lead the team onward.
“I am honoured by the opportunity to assume the role of President and CEO, and believe strongly in WestJet’s next global chapter and the growth potential ahead.”
Sims has more than 30 years of experience in tourism and aviation, with airlines and tour operators as well as air traffic control. His senior commercial and general leadership positions have been with Tui, Thomas Cook, Virgin Groups and Air New Zealand where he led the international wide-body business. Before joining WestJet as Executive Vice-President, Commercial, in May 2017, he was CEO of Airways, New Zealand’s air navigation service provider.
WestJet’s February 2018 traffic results hit record levels, with a load factor of 86.4%, an increase of 1.2 percentage points year-over-year. Revenue passenger miles (RPMs), or traffic, increased 6.1% year over year, and capacity, measured in available seat miles (ASMs), grew 4.6% over the same period. The carrier reports that it flew a record 1.9 million guests in February, a year-over-year increase of 6.5% or about 120,000 additional passengers.