Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Begun in 1996 by Clive Beddoe , Mark Hill , Tim Morgan and Donald Bell , WestJet tried to follow the same path as Southwest Airlines and Morris Air , a low-cost carrier. Morris Air, however, was purchased by Southwest shortly after WestJet was created.
On February 29, 1996 the first WestJet flight (a Boeing 737) departed. At that time, the airline served Winnipeg, Manitoba, Kelowna, British Columbia, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. By 1997, they had included Victoria, Regina and Saskatoon and in 1998 service to Abbotsford, British Columbia was added.
In 1999 a milestone was reached when WestJet was able to offer its first public sharing at 2.5 million shares, and in 2000, the airline expanded to Canada's eastern region, reaching Hamilton, Moncton and Ottawa, and choosing Hamilton as the airline's eastern region hub. That year, Beddoe, Hill, Morgan and Bell were given the Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year award in Canada for their contribution to the Canadian airline industry. In 2001, expansion continued, to include Thunder Bay, Fort McMurray and Comox, and to the subsequently pulled cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thompson and Brandon. The airline's four creators also received another entrepreneurship award. In 2002 the airline added two new eastern Canadian destinations, the cities of London, Ontario and Toronto. In April, 2003, Westjet added Windsor and Montreal as destinations. Halifax, Moncton, St. John's, and Gander have also been added.
In April, 2004, WestJet moved its eastern hub from Hamilton to Toronto. All of the flights between Ottawa and Hamilton and Montreal and Hamilton were moved to Toronto, a move that brought WestJet more fully in to the lucrative Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal triangle.
In 2004 and 2005, a number of U.S. destinations were added or announced. These included San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, New York (LaGuardia), and recently, San Diego. The vast majority of these flights fly non-stop from Calgary (WestJet's western hub) (with the exceptions of New York and Tampa). All of the flights to Florida and New York originate from Toronto. It is also possible to fly non-stop to Los Angeles from Vancouver.
During a second quarter conference call in 2004, Clive Beddoe , announced that Westjet would finally be going south of the border. On September 20, 2004 Westjet commenced the first phase of its transborder flights by flying from Calgary and Toronto to Los Angeles International Airport as well as Toronto to New York LaGuardia.
WestJet Airlines entered into a two-year agreement with Air Transat in August, 2003, whereby Westjet Next Generation Boeing aircraft would be filled by Transat's two main tour operators, World of Vacations and Air Transat Holidays. The planes are operated by WestJet crews. Some of the destinations that WestJet planes can be found at are the Dominican Republic, Puerto Vallarta, Panama City (Panama), Cancun, Mazatlan, Varadero and St. Marteen. There are also weekly charter flights run year-round to Las Vegas, Nevada, from Calgary and Edmonton on behalf of Signature Vacations.
The airline flies a fleet that consists exclusively of Boeing 737s, taking a cue from the successful single operating type model pioneered by Southwest Airlines. The operating fleet now consists of 55 aircraft; Thirty-seven of those aircraft are now Next Generation Boeing aircraft. WestJet continues to slowly retire the older 737-200 aircraft while they grow their overall fleet with Next Generation Aircraft consisting of -600, -700, and -800 series models from the 737 class. The first deliveries of 737-600 and 737-800 aircraft are due in 2005.
It was announced early in 2005 that the 737-200 fleet would be retired within the year, to be replaced by newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft. This will enable WestJet to further enjoy a lower-cost structure. However, with the abrupt end of operations by discount rival Jetsgo on March 11, 2005, the retirement of the 737-200 fleet will possibly be delayed as WestJet plans to add flights to fill Jetsgo's void.
This successful low-cost carrier currently flies to 23 Canadian cities and eight U.S. destinations.
- Victoria, British Columbia
- Comox, British Columbia
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- Abbotsford, British Columbia
- Prince George, British Columbia
- Kelowna, British Columbia
- Grande Prairie, Alberta
- Calgary, Alberta
- Edmonton, Alberta
- Fort McMurray, Alberta
- Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- Regina, Saskatchewan
- Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Thunder Bay, Ontario
- Windsor, Ontario
- London, Ontario
- Hamilton, Ontario
- Toronto, Ontario
- Ottawa, Ontario
- Montreal, Quebec
- Moncton, New Brunswick
- Halifax, Nova Scotia
- St. John's, Newfoundland
Transborder flights originate from Calgary, Vancouver or Toronto.
- Los Angeles, California
- New York City (LaGuardia)
- Orlando, Florida
- San Francisco, California
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Tampa, Florida
- Palm Springs, California
- San Diego, California (commencing later in 2005)
WestJet uses the IATA designator code WS.
WestJet uses the ICAO designator code WJA.
Photo owned by, and courtesy of, Mr. Richard Barsby.
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