WestJet Places Big Boeing 737 MAX Order

WestJet Places Big Boeing 737 MAX Order

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WestJet, Canada’s second largest airline, has just announced a pretty significant aircraft order.

WestJet orders up to 64 Boeing 737 MAX 10s

WestJet has today announced an agreement to purchase up to 64 additional Boeing aircraft, specifically for the Boeing 737 MAX 10. This includes a firm order for 42 of the jets, and options for a further 22 jets. With this development, WestJet’s fleet growth plans have been extended all the way to 2028.

For context, WestJet currently has a fleet of roughly 110 aircraft, including over 100 Boeing 737 family aircraft, plus seven Boeing 787s. This order complements WestJet’s existing order of Boeing 737 MAXs, as the airline already had 23 Boeing 737 MAXs on order, in addition to the ones that have already joined the fleet. Currently WestJet’s only “MAX” aircraft is the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

For context, the Boeing 737 MAX 10 is the largest variant of the Boeing 737 MAX family. The plane can seat up to 230 people in a single-class configuration, and has a range of 3,215nm. Unfortunately the plane still hasn’t been certified, and Boeing has even threatened to cancel the jet altogether, if approval doesn’t come through soon.

Here’s what WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech had to say about this order:

“With this additional order, the WestJet Group will accept delivery of no fewer than 65 aircraft in the next six years, at least 50 will be 737-10 aircraft, furthering our commitment to affordable travel options for Canadians and jobs for our company and the aerospace industry. WestJet’s expansion plans are rooted in an enhanced presence in Western Canada and a growth strategy in eastern Canadian communities through increased transcontinental flights and more direct routes to sun and leisure destinations. This will be further strengthened once our Sunwing transaction has been approved.”

“The 737-10 will be a game changer, with one of the lowest costs per seat among mid-range aircraft. This will foster our low-cost positioning and affordability for Canadians. In addition, with its lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions, the 737-10 will further improve the environmental footprint of our fleet.”

WestJet already has some Boeing 737 MAXs in its fleet

My take on WestJet’s aircraft order

We knew that WestJet was planning on placing an aircraft order soon, so it’s not really surprising to see the airline pick up more 737 MAXs. There’s a huge benefit to fleet commonality, so I think we all expected that WestJet would keep going with the MAX.

The 737 MAX 10 is a logical plane in terms of increasing capacity at a low per-seat cost. Admittedly that has its own risks and challenges, though, given that the plane still isn’t certified, so WestJet is buying a product that Boeing may or may not be able to sell.

I do have to say, WestJet as an airline continues to confuse me a bit. I view WestJet as being the JetBlue of Canada. The airline is pleasant to fly with, but I’m not sure the company has a terribly cohesive strategy (or at least I don’t fully understand it):

  • WestJet has seven Boeing 787-9s, but doesn’t plan on acquiring any more, and even canceled the remaining ones on order; clearly the airline dipped its goes into long haul service, but it didn’t work out
  • Competition in the Canadian airline industry is really heating up, between several new ultra low cost carriers launching, plus Porter Airlines expanding beyond Billy Bishop Airport
  • WestJet seems to just kind of be doing a little bit of everything, and I’m not sure that’s a great strategy; the airline has one lounge, seven Boeing 787s, a premium cabin on some planes, etc.

Anyway, it’s nice to see that WestJet is committed to continue growing, so that Air Canada will get some country-wide competition from a non-ultra low cost carrier.

What’s WestJet’s plan with long haul service?

Bottom line

WestJet has just placed an order for up to 64 additional Boeing 737 MAX 10s. This includes 44 firm orders, plus 22 options, and it complements WestJet’s existing Boeing 737 MAX order. I don’t think this order will come as a huge surprise to anyone.

I’m looking forward to seeing the airline industry in Canada continuing to evolve, given all that’s changing.

What do you make of WestJet’s Boeing 737 MAX order?

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  1. Dan Guest

    Your remark about Westjets strategy is bang on, it's very messy. They traditionally have marketed themselves as the low cost option against Air Canada and have very low loyalty thresholds and offer frequent air Canada status matches. I travel a bit with WJ for convenience when AC doesn't have an option and my experience is mixed.

    Firstly their pricing no longer matches their existing USP and in many cases is MORE expensive on routes...

    Your remark about Westjets strategy is bang on, it's very messy. They traditionally have marketed themselves as the low cost option against Air Canada and have very low loyalty thresholds and offer frequent air Canada status matches. I travel a bit with WJ for convenience when AC doesn't have an option and my experience is mixed.

    Firstly their pricing no longer matches their existing USP and in many cases is MORE expensive on routes shared with AC. Then often, prices for their premium cabin are less expensive than their economy which makes no sense and devalues the point of having status loyalty as upgrades are less likely, again this baffles me. Their status levels are weak and really just a bag tag to have, the main advantage I have found apart from lounge access is the reciprocal rewards with Delta and status recognition from them although when at WJ Platinum you are always the bottom of the upgrade list.

    In general, I like WestJets soft and hard product on both their 737's and 787's and their one lounge in Calgary is very nice, nicer than any of the AC domestic lounges however again their strategy to compete with AC doesn't stack up with a lack of good lounges anywhere else.

    Bottom line is, if you fly 2-3 times a month in Canada, WestJet is probably your best bet in terms of value for the amount of travel. Anything over 4-5 flights a month then flying AC makes the most sense as long as you can hit 50K and if you can hit SE100k with AC then WestJet only makes sense as a route gap filler as it is for me.

  2. SRN Guest

    And I forgot to mention an extra 4” of legroom on a Q400. An extra 40” of legroom on a Q400 won’t make it a premium seat. There is a reason Alaska is ditching those awful planes.

    1. Dan Guest

      Q400 is my biggest headache. Quite literally.

      I saw an article last week that they are about to start producing them again in Alberta, preserve us!!!

  3. SRN Guest

    Ben’s comment about “cohesive strategy’ is spot on. They’re trying to be everything to everyone and doing a poor job of them all. Any airline that thinks they can call an extra 4” of legroom a premium seat is grasping at straws.

  4. Kiwi Guest

    They’ve clearly bought these for the bucket and spade business to Florida/carribbean/Mexico to keep unit costs low they’ll probably also end up on high frequency oil patch routes and maybe Vancouver routes. Otherwise these are just going to be too big. You aren’t going to see these being run Into Saskatoon, St John’s NL, etc. there is a reason they’re one of the few airlines to ever operate the 600 and have a large fleet...

    They’ve clearly bought these for the bucket and spade business to Florida/carribbean/Mexico to keep unit costs low they’ll probably also end up on high frequency oil patch routes and maybe Vancouver routes. Otherwise these are just going to be too big. You aren’t going to see these being run Into Saskatoon, St John’s NL, etc. there is a reason they’re one of the few airlines to ever operate the 600 and have a large fleet of 700’s. Start getting much larger and it’s simply too large and your incremental fixed operating costs from flying empty offset your reduced unit costs qtoo quickly.

    They must have got one Stella deal

  5. Andrew Guest

    WestJet has finally standardized their premium product with dedicated 2x2 seating on all 737 aircraft. But there's other areas where they seem to be going in many different directions. They've copied the ULCCs with more expensive checked bags when purchasing them within T-24 iirc. AC is leaving them behind when it comes to status (although they now have a status match offer), no current lounge expansion plans, and they're still trying to carve out a...

    WestJet has finally standardized their premium product with dedicated 2x2 seating on all 737 aircraft. But there's other areas where they seem to be going in many different directions. They've copied the ULCCs with more expensive checked bags when purchasing them within T-24 iirc. AC is leaving them behind when it comes to status (although they now have a status match offer), no current lounge expansion plans, and they're still trying to carve out a route network for themselves. With Canada Jetlines and Lynx both targeting YYC-YYZ as one of their first routes, WS has their competition cut out for them, especially with price sensitive leisure pax.

  6. Josh Guest

    Disappointed that WestJet decided to support a family of aircraft that was, along with Boeing, completely responsible for the death of 346 people. Boeing barely recognizes or apologizes for it and not a single person from that organization was found criminally responsible. Have been avoiding flying any 737max and will continue to do so

    1. MG Guest

      They will do just fine without you.

    2. XPL Diamond

      It's hardly a surprise that an all-Boeing carrier* would buy Boeing.

      * Granted, WestJet also flies the Dash 8 and Saab 340, but Boeing makes nothing to compete with those aircraft.

    3. Canadian Platinum Guest

      The Saabs are operated by Pacific Coastal Airlines, a privately owned, capacity supplier to 'Westjetlink'.
      The Dash 8's are operated by Westjet Encore a wholly owned subsidiary of WS.

  7. Al Guest

    Note to self: Never, ever fly WestJet.

  8. Kendall Guest

    Also as a Canadian, I can say that Westjet has made some pants-on-head retarded decisions with their loyalty program

  9. T- Guest

    I love Westjet when traveling to & within Canada. This is good news for WJ. The new aircraft will be nice to fly. I sure hope that their European business is decent. I'd like to try these routes out.

  10. Alec Guest

    Should review their long haul again to see if they’ve improved service time

  11. Greenie Guest

    They are far from a low cost carrier and need to figure out who they are.

    1. Canadian Platinum Guest

      They may position themselves as a low cost carrier but they are no means a low price carrier. It's a duopoly in Canada, so AC and WS have no reason to lower prices. The only time they lower prices is to price upstart LCCs out of the market.

  12. Brianair Guest

    WestJet has been taking forever to repaint aircraft that aren’t the 787 or 737 MAX into the new livery. It even shows the old livery on planes like the 737-800 on their website. I wonder what is up with that. Are they not happy with the new livery?

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      They're probably doing the same thing Spirit did: only repaint aircraft when they were due for heavy mtx.

  13. Austin Guest

    I believe that WestJet has cancelled their order for its remaining 3 787s. They seem to be returning to its original focus of Western Canada

    1. Justin Guest

      I have flown Westjet a lot. Their narrow body “premium economy” is equivalent to Air Canada narrow body J or domestic F on major US airlines. I agree that they are the Canadian JetBlue and should compete with AC and not ULCCs. Those of us in the western part of the country need a reliable alternative to AC.

      They would do well to expand their 787 fleet and overseas route network as they offer...

      I have flown Westjet a lot. Their narrow body “premium economy” is equivalent to Air Canada narrow body J or domestic F on major US airlines. I agree that they are the Canadian JetBlue and should compete with AC and not ULCCs. Those of us in the western part of the country need a reliable alternative to AC.

      They would do well to expand their 787 fleet and overseas route network as they offer a widebody product that is better than AC. While they are partners with AF/KL and DL, they should be full SkyTeam members to facilitate and expand connectivity.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Josh Guest

Disappointed that WestJet decided to support a family of aircraft that was, along with Boeing, completely responsible for the death of 346 people. Boeing barely recognizes or apologizes for it and not a single person from that organization was found criminally responsible. Have been avoiding flying any 737max and will continue to do so

1
Al Guest

Note to self: Never, ever fly WestJet.

1
ConcordeBoy Diamond

They're probably doing the same thing Spirit did: only repaint aircraft when they were due for heavy mtx.

1
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