It looks like WestJet is planning on stepping up its game by buying twenty 787 Boeing Dreamliners to increase their international routes. Expect to see more direct routes from Canada to Asia, Europe and South America.
The news has been out for a while now, but the first delivery of 10 planes only arrive between the first quarter of 2019 and the end of 2021. There is an option for the additional 10 Dreamliners that would be delivered between 2020 and 2024.
Some would argue that this is a high risk move by WestJet, as being a low-cost carrier is what gives them the edge over Air Canada (in some ways). However, if they do not make some bold moves, they will have a hard time bringing their business to another level.
I wonder if WestJet would be able to have a hybrid system, where they somehow maintain their low-cost option on their main fleet, while also offering a luxury product with these Dreamliners.
Thoughts Going Forward
I feel that this purchase moves WestJet from a low-cost carrier, to one of the more main stream carriers. And you guessed it, to compete more directly with Air Canada.
My initial thought is whether WestJet is setting itself up to join an airline alliance. Even though I would be very happy to see this happen, I would settle for an Alaska Airlines model, where they have many valuable code-share partners to choose from.
Either way, it would be interesting to see how this plays out. What are your thoughts about this move by WestJet?