More Europe plus Asia, South America in the cards for WestJet with new Dreamliner order
Credit: Boeing

More Europe plus Asia, South America in the cards for WestJet with new Dreamliner order

CALGARY — WestJet is pushing ahead with international expansion plans, signing on for up to 20 new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The Dreamliner gives WestJet the ability to serve new destinations in Asia and South America and to expand its network in Europe, with a range of more than 14,000 kilometres.

Ten of the Boeing 787-9 aircraft are scheduled for delivery between the first quarter of 2019 and December 2021, with options for an additional 10 aircraft to be delivered between 2020 and 2024.

WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky says the Boeing order “represents an exciting new chapter in WestJet’s history”. WestJet first launched WestJet Encore to connect smaller communities across Canada to WestJet growing network and then went long-haul with wide-body aircraft to Hawaii and London Gatwick. “Now with the most sophisticated commercial airliner available, we turn our attention to further growing our international presence and introducing even more travellers to our award-winning guest experience,” he said.

As part of the purchase agreement WestJet is converting 15 firm orders for the Boeing 737 MAX that were to be delivered between 2019 and 2021 to options available between 2022 and 2024.

WestJet’s net earnings for the first quarter of 2017 were $48.3 million, down from $87.6 million in Q1 2016. The Q1 results include a pre-tax non-cash adjustment to its maintenance provision of $18.5 million and irregular operations related costs of $7.0 million due to severe winter weather experienced in the quarter. “We are pleased to report strong topline revenue growth and our first positive unit revenue (RASM) performance in eight quarters. We are seeing good results from Plus, our premium economy product, growth in our WestJet Rewards program and penetration into the business traveller segment all of which gives us confidence that RASM will continue to improve for the remainder of the year,” said Saretsky.

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