CALGARY, AB -- WestJet today ushers in a new era in the airline's 19-year history with the arrival early this morning of the first of four Boeing 767-300 extended range aircraft, allowing the airline to begin serving Europe and other regions of the world from Canada on a non-stop basis. Inaugural wide-body flights will begin in early September.
"The arrival of our first wide-body aircraft opens the next chapter in the evolution and growth of Canada's low-fare leader," said Bob Cummings, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial. "WestJet has been liberating Canadians from the high cost of air travel since 1996, bringing low fares and friendly, caring, people-driven service to communities from coast to coast. The launch of WestJet Encore in 2013 gave Canadians in smaller centres much-needed relief from high fares and the opportunity to connect to WestJet's ever-expanding domestic, trans-border and international networks. Shortly, with the arrival of our first wide-body aircraft as an important milestone, we will offer Canadians from cities across our network the chance to fly non-stop to Europe and other regions at prices not seen in recent memory. As we have throughout our history, we will continue to lower airfares and make travel more affordable."
Featuring a new teal and blue maple leaf-themed logo that will eventually appear on all WestJet aircraft, the airline's 767s seat 262 guests and have a range of approximately 11 hours. The aircraft will include a Plus cabin with 24 premium seats in a two-by-two configuration, hot meals and all of the other amenities associated with Plus. The main cabin has 238 seats, with two seats on either side of the aircraft and three in the middle. By next spring all four 767s will be equipped with WestJet Connect, the airline's new inflight entertainment and wireless connectivity system.
The four aircraft will arrive separately over the next eight months. The aircraft that arrives today will begin service in September and operate flights between Toronto and Calgary for the next several months. With the arrival of two additional wide-bodies this fall, the 767s will be flying from Alberta to Hawaii and between Toronto and Montego Bay, Jamaica beginning in December. The fourth and final aircraft will arrive next spring just prior to the launch of WestJet's new service to London (Gatwick) in May 2016.
Following discussions over the summer with airports across the country, the airline will announce the Canadian cities from which it will operate its summer schedule, including to London, in mid-September.
A computer-generated video featuring air-to-air, exterior and interior footage of WestJet's new 767 aircraft is available at youtube.com/westjet.
WestJet will host a live stream of the arrival of the aircraft via Periscope tonight. Viewers wishing to tune in should have a Periscope account and follow WestJet. The exact time of the live stream will be announced later today on WestJet's Facebook and Twitter feeds.
We are proud to be Canada's highest-rated airline for customer service, powered by an award-winning culture of care and recognized as one of the country's top employers. We offer scheduled service to 100 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. Through our regional airline, WestJet Encore, and with partnerships with airlines representing every major region of the world, we offer our guests more than 120 destinations in more than 20 countries. Leveraging WestJet's extensive network, flight schedule and remarkable guest experience, WestJet Vacations delivers affordable, flexible travel experiences with a variety of accommodation options for every guest. Members of our WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more. Our members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of WestJet flights and vacations packages on any day, at any time, to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods, even on seat sales. For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.
Recent recognition includes:
2015 Best Employers in Canada (Aon Hewitt)
2014 Interbrand Canada's Best Canadian Brands (Rank #20)
2014 Brands of the Year (Strategy magazine)
2014 Canada's Most Preferred Airline (Ipsos)
2014 Value Airline of the Year (Air Transport World magazine)
2014/2013/2012 Canada's Most Attractive Employer (Randstad)