WestJet CEO confirms plans for China flights

WestJet CEO confirms plans for China flights

VANCOUVER — WestJet has its sights set on China, filing for regulatory approval for new flights as part of the carrier’s worldwide expansion goals. WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky confirmed the move in a speech to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade last week.

“We have entered into the process with Transport Canada and will soon engage with the Chinese delegation in Beijing,” said Saretsky. It’s not clear yet whether the flights would be out of Calgary or Vancouver.

In an interview with the Vancouver Sun in 2016 Saretsky hinted at future WestJet destinations. “We’re not going to disclose, for competitive reasons, where exactly we’re going to fly. But the fact we are hiring people who speak Portuguese, Italian, German, Mandarin and Cantonese gives people a pretty good guess where we’re going next. We’re going to build that capacity so that, when it’s time to make a decision, it will be an easy trigger to pull.”

As reported on Travelweek.ca in May, 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.

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