WestJet’s First 787 Takes Off

WestJet has been on Simple Flying quite a bit. As an emerging carrier, they’ve been growing into a real competitor against Air Canada.

As WestJet battles whether or not they are expanding too much, their 787 is preparing for commercial flights.

WestJet is expecting 10 B787 aircraft. Photo: WestJet

WestJet’s New 787

The 787 just completed some initial test flying before delivery. Soon, this plane will be flying on WestJet’s transatlantic routes out of Calgary.

Before entering transatlantic revenue service, the 787 will debut on domestic routes between Toronto and Calgary. These kinds of flights are routine before international service as an airline and its staff becomes familiar with the new aircraft.

The 787 will be the largest aircraft in WestJet’s fleet.

WestJet’s First 787 Takes Off
WestJet’s 787 takes flight in Seattle. Photo: USA Today

The Interior

WestJet will outfit their 787s with three distinct classes.

Business class will be in a 1-2-1 configuration. If you’re flying in this cabin, you can expect better service and a lie-flat seat.

The reverse herringbone configuration provides every passenger direct aisle access. This is in line with some of WestJet’s partners. Almost all of joint venture partner Delta’s international Delta One seats offer direct aisle access.

The slightly cozier premium cabin will have a 2-3-2 layout. Photo: WestJet

The premium cabin seat is also similar to Delta’s Premium Select seat. Premium economy is not a new concept for WestJet. WestJet started as a low-cost carrier and instead of business class, they offered a premium economy cabin.

Offering seatback entertainment is part of WestJet’s transition towards a full-service carrier to compete against Air Canada.

The new B787 will have a 3-3-3 economy class layout. Photo: WestJet

Like most 787s, WestJet’s economy class will have a 3-3-3 layout. Given the new technology found on the 787, even economy class will prove to be a better way to cross the Atlantic than WestJet’s aging 767s.

The Routes

WestJet maintains a major hub out of Calgary. The first route for the 787 will be between Calgary and Toronto. Starting in April, the 787 will fly between Calgary and London Gatwick. From mid-May, the 787 will fly from Calgary to Paris and from June, the 787 will fly from Calgary to Dublin.

WestJet’s First 787 Takes Off
WestJet’s transatlantic 787 routes.

Will They Fly?

WestJet has had to slow down on growth, and part of that includes altering the deal for their 787. It looks like Westjet has too many 787s on order for their liking. WestJet intends to sell and lease back some of their 787s scheduled for delivery in 2019.

Among rising fuel prices, the list of headwinds for WestJet is longer than most CEO’s would appreciate. Furthermore, as a new airline prepares to launch in Canada, WestJet is going to need a stronger financial state to withstand some industry pressures.

With a new CEO, perhaps WestJet will be able to taper their expansion and return to a solid financial footing.

Here at Simple Flying, we’re excited to see the 787 fly in WestJet colors and hope one day it could be used for international expansion.

Do you fly WestJet? Would you want to fly WestJet’s new Dreamliner? Let us know in the comments!