SEATTLE — Sunwing Airlines executives flew to Seattle and back to take delivery of the carrier’s newest plane, and Travelweek was along for the ride.
Sunwing, which has become North America’s largest vertically integrated travel company, took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX 8 on May 25. The aircraft is the latest model in Boeing’s 737 series.
The new model features 12 more seats, 8% less fuel emissions and 8% lower operating costs per seat than its nearest competitor, the A320neo.
The aircraft is the first of four new B737 MAX 8 aircraft and two B737-300 aircraft acquired by Sunwing Airlines in accordance with its most recent agreement with Boeing and Air Lease Corporation.
The second 737 MAX 8 aircraft will be delivered this week with the balance to be delivered in 2019.
Sunwing Airlines President Mark Williams said the 737 MAX “is an integral part of Sunwing’s overall expansion plans across an increasing number of both Canadian and U.S. gateways and illustrates the evolution of the company.”
“Sunwing may have increased in scale, however what drove the company in the early 2000s is still central to our business today – in particular, the airline’s commitment to its passengers that when they travel with Sunwing, they travel with an award-winning airline and one of Canada’s most modern fleets,” he said.
Brad McMullen, Boeing’s Vice-President, Sales for the Americas, added: “Sunwing already flies one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleets in Canada and now they take another leap forward with the Boeing 737 MAX, a new jet that can fly further, use less fuel, and provide greater passenger comfort.”
Williams confirmed that the Boeing 737 MAX is 14% more fuel efficient than its existing fleet, noting that this added fuel efficiency is “transformational” for the company because it gives this aircraft an additional range of 500 nautical miles compared to its existing fleet.
This allows Sunwing Airlines to comfortably operate full flights from Vancouver to the East Caribbean at full capacity rather than leaving empty seats so as to conserve fuel, effectively adding at least 14 seats to each flight.
In fact the plan is to operate these aircraft out of Vancouver this fall after an initial break-in period over the summer operating out of Toronto.
The new 737 MAX features the latest aircraft technology offered by Boeing and will allow Sunwing to offer reliable, cost effective and environment friendly service, say the companies. The aircraft not only uses less fuel but it also reduces CO2 emissions by 20% compared to the older aircraft it’s replacing.
Part of Boeing’s newest family of single-aisle airplanes, the 737 MAX 8 – with more than 4,500 orders from nearly 100 customers worldwide – is already the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history.
The aircraft has 189 seats, all featuring a new seat tip which creates the perception that the passenger has 2” more room.
A first for Sunwing, each seat has a USB port which allows passengers to charge and use their personal devices during the entire flight. This follows the emerging trend to allow passengers to use their own content during the flight.
Sunwing’s 737 MAX will feature 24 Elite Plus seats allowing 3” – 6” of extra room at a premium charge.
The aircraft is also significantly quieter, by about 40%, than earlier 737 models which Boeing says may reduce passenger flight fatigue.
The 737 MAX is also equipped with LED lighting throughout, including landing lights, adding to energy efficiency, reliability, reduced heat and passenger comfort.
The inaugural flight back from Seattle was piloted by Ron Henry, one of Sunwing’s first pilots who has been flying for Sunwing since 2005, along with First Officer Jessalyn Teed, a recent recruit to the flight crew and a graduate of Sunwing’s cadet program, operated in partnership with the University of Waterloo.
Sunwing offers direct service from over 33 gateways across Canada to more than 45 sun destinations. The company’s inflight service features a complimentary glass or sparkling wine, tea, coffee and non-alcoholic beverages with a buy-on-board menu inspired by Celebrity Chef, Lynn Crawford. An added bonus is a complimentary 23 kg checked luggage allowance. For more information visit sunwing.ca.