Tuesday, July 28th25.0°C
27122

WestJet says it plans to have wide-body planes in the sky by fall 2015

CALGARY - WestJet Airlines Ltd. (TSX:WJA) said Monday it aims to have its own wide-body aircraft in the sky next year, setting the stage for a possible international expansion.

The bigger planes will offer greater range than WestJet's current fleet of Boeing 737s and allow it to compete with Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) on more routes.

The Calgary-based airline said it plans to operate four of wide-body planes initially, with their first flights going between Alberta and Hawaii during the 2015 winter season.

The carrier has been using two Boeing 757-200 planes operated by Thomas Cook for its Alberta-Hawaii winter service, but that agreement ends next spring.

"This is the natural, next-step evolution for WestJet," said CEO Gregg Saretsky.

"It's made possible by our low-cost business model, growing network strength, airline partnerships and our award-winning brand driven by the efforts of our more than 10,000 WestJetters from coast to coast."

The company says it's in the advanced stages of sourcing the aircraft. The wide-body plan has the backing of WestJet's pilot association and board of directors.

In addition to the 737s, WestJet's Encore regional service flies the Bombardier Q400 turboprop.

WestJet began flying between St. John's, N.L., and Dublin last month.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Walter Spracklin said the move paves the way for an expansion into more overseas destinations.

"With still profitable growth available from WestJet's existing operations, we believe some investors might have preferred a focus on the 737 and regional fleet before expanding internationally," he wrote in a note to clients.

"However, we believe management sought to act sooner rather than later given the apparent strength in the international demand environment. Arriving too late might have put WestJet at a sizable disadvantage to competitors that could have blanketed the most profitable routes with newer aircraft."

As WestJet's operations become more complicated, Spracklin said "maintaining a cost advantage, as well as successfully executing, will be tantamount in our view."

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News




Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14077.36+75.99
S&P CDNX586.97+5.25
DJIA17630.27+189.68
Nasdaq5089.21+49.43
S&P 5002093.25+25.61
CDN Dollar0.7734+0.0066
Gold1097.10+0.60
Oil48.21+0.36
Lumber256.90-0.80
Natural Gas2.836+0.047

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.175-0.005
Knighthawk0.010.00
QHR Technologies Inc1.37+0.01
Cantex0.05+0.00
Anavex Life Sciences0.78-0.13
Metalex Ventures0.06-0.01
Russel Metals18.35-1.10
Copper Mountain Mining0.82+0.02
Colorado Resources0.06+0.00
ReliaBrand Inc0.0045-0.0022
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.03+0.00
Mission Ready Services0.15+0.00
Decisive Dividend Corp2.60-0.10

 





FEATURED Property
235034010586 Pinecrest Road
10102638 bedrooms
$67,500
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Chasing ducks

Photo: Thinkstock.comWhen businessmen tell me that being low priced is the only way to stay in business, I am skeptical. Price is the simplest way for a consumer to compare and is overused as the basi...


Taking care of business

Photo: Thinkstock.comRetirement as a goal has changed a lot over the years. There was a time, it was the only goal. You’d punch the clock and count the years until you could stop punching that t...


Income from home equity

Photo: Thinkstock.comWhen retirement funds run low, seniors often ask if tapping into the equity in their home is the right way to retain financial independence. To see if this option might be a good ...

_



27052




Member of BC Press Council


26782