As WestJet continues to reposition itself from a low-cost leisure airline to a premium global carrier, invest in a fleet expansion set for a minimum of ten 787 Dreamliners and open a new flagship lounge at YYC airport, the airline’s commitment to the trade is also flying high.
Jane Clementino, Director of Agency Sales, told the 300 attendees gathered yesterday (Feb. 25) at the WestJet YYZ Hangar that the airline “upped its game” by doubling the size of its agency sales and support team with new BDMs and a commercial account manager.
With the option for an additional 10 787 aircrafts, she said WestJet is ushering in a new era.
“In the next 18 months we could have a fleet of almost 20 787s so pretty exciting stuff,” she announced. “This is the new WestJet.”
The purpose of the “first Hangar party” was twofold: to recognize the winners of WestJet’s 2020 Travel Partner Awards and to invite all guests to explore the latest member of the family, a brand new 787-9 Dreamliner, Tail 905, the fourth in the fleet.
“We would like to congratulate this year’s Travel Partner Awards winners and thank all our agency partners for their ongoing support. We’re proud to recognize their hard work and dedication as we work together in support of WestJet’s global growth,” said Chuck Crowder, WestJet Vice-President, Sales, Distribution and Contact Centres. “We’re also excited that our partners were able to experience our newest Dreamliner and all that this game-changing aircraft has to offer our mutual guests.”
Here are the winners of WestJet’s 2020 Travel Partner Awards:
Top Revenue Growth, WestJet Airlines 2019
Platinum partner: BCD Travel
Gold partner: Egencia
Silver partner: YYZ Travel Group
Teal Plus partner: Costco Travel Canada
Specialty Sales partner: Agencia Global
OTA partner: Hopper
Top Revenue Growth, WestJet Vacations 2019
Platinum partner: Red Label Vacations
Gold partner: Alberta Motor Association
Silver partner: The Travel Agent Next Door
Teal Plus partner: TravelOnly
Top Premium Air Sales, WestJet Airlines 2019
Platinum partner: American Express Global Business Travel
Gold partner: Merit Travel Group
Silver partner: TierOne Travel
Teal Plus partner: Elite Travel Management
Specialty Sales partner: Travel Brands
OTA partner: Expedia
As the company continues to rebuild, Crowder said they are moving towards being, “ a premium global carrier bringing Canadians to the world and the world to Canada and with your help, you’re allowing us to do that.”
The company currently has 180 aircraft across 110 destinations and over 25 countries.
“We’ve just announced serving Calgary to Rome with the 787 as of May 2,” he said. “Over the years since 2014, we’ve continually added new countries, new destinations and will continue to expand that further and further.”
Although they are still waiting on approval for its Delta joint venture agreement in the US, he hopes it will be in place by the end of April.
“But a lot of work is being done today to ensure the ease and transition so it’s a seamless journey for our mutual guests among both carriers,” he noted.
Another key partnership is with Air France KLM with codeshares beyond Paris to Germany, Italy and Western Europe.
Addressing its recent acquisition by Onex, he said: “we’re not losing our identity, we’re not losing our culture.”
In addition to the 787 fleet, WestJet is also reconfiguring its 737s to a “2×2” configuration for premium economy.
Here’s a look at the newest 787 aircraft, featuring Economy, Premium and Business class seating. Stay tuned to an upcoming edition of Canadian Travel Press for an in-depth look at the company’s vision going forward.