Canadian carrier WestJet is stepping up its Dreamliner services in 2020. As more 787-9s are delivered to the airline, WestJet is tweaking and upgrading its key international routes. There will be a significant improvement in WestJet services out of Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.
A lot more 787-9s on WestJet’s transatlantic services
The upgrade in services is beginning this week, but the majority of changes are being rolled out in the northern hemisphere 2020 spring and early summer
The 787-9s will start operating Toronto – Gatwick – Toronto twice daily from this week. In June 2020, there will be a daily 787-9 Dreamliner Toronto – Calgary – Toronto added to the schedule.
Out of Vancouver, there will be a daily 787-9 service across to Gatwick and back from the end of April 2020.
And Calgary is doing quite well out of this. The 787-9 will fly Calgary – Paris – Calgary four times a week from mid-March 2020. From mid-April 2020 there will be a twice-daily 787-9 Calgary – Gatwick – Calgary service and from the beginning of June 2020, the 787-9 will fly three times a week between Calgary – Dublin – Calgary.
In a statement, Westjet sees the standout features of these changes being a permanent daily 787-9 service between Toronto and Calgary and a twice-daily service between Toronto and Gatwick. WestJet notes that the Calgary – Paris service is resuming and that the Calgary – Gatwick 787-9 service date is being brought forward. WestJet Chief Commercial Officer, Arved von zur Muehlen said in a statement provided to Simple Flying;
“As we welcome new 787 deliveries, we continue to showcase WestJet’s award-winning guest experience to the world. Our Dreamliner service is unique to WestJet and through increased domestic and transatlantic connections we’re able to offer Canadians and visitors a superior experience whether travelling for business or leisure.”
WestJet and its Dreamliners
WestJet has only been operating the 787-9 Dreamliners since the start of the year. It now has three in its fleet and has seven due to be delivered. WestJet anticipates receiving three deliveries in 2020, facilitating this expansion of its 787-9 services. The airline is Canada’s second-largest carrier. It carried over 25 million passengers in 2018 and has 126 aircraft in its fleet. WestJet has thirteen 737 MAXs grounded and a further 43 on order.
Starting up as a low-cost carrier, WestJet no longer fits the true LCC model. Its long-range aircraft are equipped with reasonable premium cabins and WestJet boasts that it doesn’t treat its economy class passengers like cattle.
Effectively, the Canadian carrier seems to be carving out a niche for itself somewhere between low cost and full service. It’s not a bad strategy – appealing to passengers who can’t necessarily pony up for a business class cabin on a premium carrier but balk at a flight on a low-cost carrier.
Earlier this year, WestJet’s CEO, Ed Sims, acknowledged the potential pitfalls inherent in the airline’s popularity. Demand can spur growth, which is great, but rapid growth can potentially blow out the airline’s costs and undercut its viability. WestJet has deliberately slowed down and adopted a more cautious strategy under its current management. As it abandons the true low-cost carrier market segment, Ed Sims reckons it needs to chart its future path with care.