Canadian airline WestJet is expected to commence operations with its Boeing 787 aircraft in February According to airline route. The airline ordered 10 Boeing 787 aircraft in May 2017, however, deliveries are yet to commence. On the other hand, WestJet today told that they are planning to sell and lease back the first B787 aircraft it receives. As such, the airline must be expecting to receive at least 4 aircraft in the next two months in order to meet both targets. This isn’t beyond the realms of possibility as Boeing intends to raise its 787 output from 12 to 14 a month in 2019.
Who Are WestJet?
WestJet was founded in 1996. The intention was that the airline would act as a low-cost competitor to the Canadian Flag Carrier, Air Canada. The airline now operates an ultra-low-cost subsidiary called Swoop. This follows a number of other ultra-low-cost airlines announcing intentions. Currently, the Canadian market is dominated by the two biggest players. Together, Air Canada and WestJet account for a total of 82% of the domestic market by seat number. They also make up 66% of the international market by seat number, with Air Canda representing 44.5%. This, in turn, means that WestJet accounts for around 22% of the total seats available in Canada.
While WestJet will almost certainly use the B787 for longer international routes, it is initially planned for a domestic route. With the new B787 aircraft, the company will begin providing premium and business seating. From the 20th February, the airline will employ the B787 on direct flights between Toronto and Calgary. The schedule will look as follows:
- Flight WS 655 will depart from Toronto at 0900, before landing in Calgary at 1105.
- Flight WS 670 will depart from Calgary at 13:30, before landing in Toronto at 1910.
From 8th April, a second B787 service will begin on the route. This will operate as:
- Flight WS 662 will depart from Calgary at 1000, arriving in Toronto at 1530.
- Flight WS 669 will depart from Toronto at 1900, arriving in Calgary at 2118.
Too Many B787s
It appears as though WestJet thinks they’ve ordered too many B787s for themselves. Earlier today the airline released targets for 2019-2022 from its investor day. The airline said: “WestJet has signed a letter of intent to sell and lease back the first three Boeing 787 Dreamliners to be delivered in the first quarter of 2019”.
Additionally, the airline expects to increase its share of the Canadian market and hinted to Transatlantic services using the B787 “In 2019, WestJet continues to expect system-wide capacity growth of between 6.5 and 8.5 per cent and domestic capacity growth of between 1.0 and 3.0 per cent. Growth in 2019 is attributed to the launch of transatlantic service on the airline’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner…”
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