WestJet looks to fly long-distance with wide-body aircraft

WestJet (QMI Agency files)

WestJet (QMI Agency files)

Bill Kaufmann, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

WestJet’s aerial dogfight with Air Canada and others is set to reach new heights.

Calgary-based carrier WestJet is on its way to acquiring four wide-bodied aircraft it plans to initially use on its Alberta to Hawaii routes beginning in late 2015.

It’ll extend the carrier’s ability to fly beyond the 4,800-km limit, said Bob Cummings, WestJet’s vice president of sales and marketing.

“It’s about range,” he said.

“We’re in the advanced stages of sourcing and we’ll have an announcement of aircraft types at the end of the month.”

Cummings said the move will better position WestJet in the wide-bodied market, of which Air Canada controls up to 40%.

“But when you look at the market, it’s more than just Air Canada,” he said.

The new planes could also allow WestJet to add more longer-distance routes with continental North American and Europe, said Cummings in 2015-16.

The airline’s current service from Alberta to Hawaii using Boeing 757-200s, operated by Thomas Cook, will end next spring.

Those wide-body aircraft WestJet is acquiring will be used planes, said Cummings.

“This will be a financially different equation than acquiring new aircraft which cost $125 million apiece,” he said.


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