How Westjet Makes Long-Haul Low-Cost Work

“We have a high-density seating with 320 total capacity, including a very small Business Class with 16 lie-flat seats in staggered 1-2-1 configuration and 28 Premium Economy seats,” Hoensbroech points out. However small, WestJets long-haul Business Class is considered the best of any Canadian carrier by many frequent fliers. Airlineratings tried it out and found it to be top-notch.

“For us, summer and winter are equally good business, that’s unique in the industry,” explains Hoensbroech. “In summer people fly to Canada, in winter they fly out of Canada. Winter is a gigantic business, we will fly more than four million Canadians to the American sunbelt. On peak days, we operate 26 times between Canada and Cancún in Mexico, two or three flights are by 787s. Same to Puerto Vallarta and Hawaii. Usually, you earn a lot of money with 787s in summer and lose a lot in winter. But because of this double season, we are possibly able to operate widebodies profitably in the long run as the only low-cost carrier anywhere,” says the CEO.

“That was what all the Air Berlins, Virgin Australias or Norwegians couldn’t achieve.” Next summer, WestJet plans to restart its transatlantic services with either the Boeing 737-800 or its newer 737 MAX 8s in true low-cost fashion. “Our transatlantic routes are sometimes quite short. From St. John’s in Newfoundland, going to Paris takes five hours, to Calgary you need six and a half hours as a domestic flight. Halifax, London and Calgary are equally far away. In 2024 we aim to serve more destinations on the British Isles with 737 flights,” announces Hoensbroech.

WestJet is unique proof that in the right niche low-cost flying can have a much wider scope than one would usually expect.

The post

Canada’s Westjet is defying the industry and making long-haul low-cost work and in this exclusive interview finds out how!

For Alexis Count of Hoensbroech, a German noble family with a long tradition, it was a jump into cold water. Or rather cold air, literally. “I had never been to Calgary, and I first came here only after signing on as CEO of WestJet in January 2022, when we landed it was minus 35°C outside. My wife wanted to turn right back,” he recalls in an exclusive interview with Airlineratings.

Hoensbroech had a high-profile career at Lufthansa Group and was seen read more ⇒

Source:: AirlineRatings.Com

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