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13 hours ago, beaverboy said:

No WB to swoop as per the arbitrated award from Kaplan.  

Actually the award from Kaplan said "Swoop will not operate the Boeing 787 series aircraft".  The award also says that additional aircraft may be added to Swoop's Initial Fleet Size (30 aircraft) at a 1:1 ratio of narrow body aircraft for every narrow body aircraft added to Westjet above their own baseline fleet and 1:1 for ratio as well for any wide body aircraft added to the Westjet baseline fleet, and 1:2 for every wide body aircraft added to Westjet above the baseline fleet, two narrow bodies may be added to the Swoop fleet. 

As such I wouldn't be shocked to see the 767's at Swoop with that in mind.  

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Not sure if it's public.  If you know a WS pilot have then read section 

1-1.04 regarding scope 

 

Does not get much clearer than that.  The "proposed contract" put forth by the corp was included at the back of our CA for us to see what the company was trying to do. Information purposes only.  

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1 hour ago, beaverboy said:

Not sure if it's public.  If you know a WS pilot have then read section 

1-1.04 regarding scope 

 

Does not get much clearer than that.  The "proposed contract" put forth by the corp was included at the back of our CA for us to see what the company was trying to do. Information purposes only.  

thanks

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3 hours ago, beaverboy said:

You're incorrect.   That proposal was from the corp.  The Kaplan award specifically states no WB at swoop.    

Thanks, I wasn't aware of that

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On 2/10/2019 at 10:44 AM, dr1 said:

Grooming was just one of the things our illustrious union was supposed to take care of but our boys got thoroughly schooled at the negotiating table. That's another story entirely. 

 

“Thoroughly schooled”? Really? In what way? Why the heck would alpa spend any time whatsoever on negotiating around a voluntary duty?

If you think $180 mil of contract improvements over 4 years (according to the roadshow presentation) is being “thoroughly schooled” then I don’t know what to say. How much was the last wjpa agreement worth over 4 years?

They were able to secure trip and duty rigs (finally), 1:1 YOS credit for FOs who upgrade, a TB pension commitment and a whole whack of other improvements that couldn’t be achieved by the former “representation” in the 20+ years before. Sure there were some things that were lost or traded away, but overall I think our reps did a good job given who they were dealing with.

Yeah, the swoop lou which was awarded by the arbitrator. How’s that working out for the company? Last I checked they can’t even fill a bid there and most of the guys who rolled the dice to go there want to GTFO and come back.

What exactly were you expecting for a first contract?

 

Edited by anonymous

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Very well said.   The pilots were not "schooled" by the corp.   We gained in areas and didn't in others.   All in all once the corp implements the improvements in the new scheduling and duty rules (Kaplan award) the pilots should see more efficient schedules.   

 

I believe eve the last agreement by the last association managed about $18 million over the course of the deal.   A slight difference in the new deal we just received.

  

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On 2/9/2019 at 8:29 AM, Malcolm said:

Curious as to where the 767s are / will be deployed.

I understand FCO is next 767 destination after MAD.

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NEW ERA DAWNS AT WESTJET

The arrival of a fleet of new Boeing 787 Dreamliners has set WestJet on a new flight path that marks a business and cultural change for the Calgary-based carrier. We take a look behind the scenes at the new aircraft and what they mean.

  • Calgary Herald
  • 13 Feb 2019
  • AMANDA STEPHENSON
img?regionKey=tv2EXUFC%2bXqxClZhYaSFwg%3d%3dPHOTOS: DARREN MAKOWICHUK WestJet teams have been working hard behind the scenes for months to get ready for the April 28 launch date of the new 787 Dreamliner. A critical aspect of food service. Cabin crew members are here with chef Michael Allemeler of SAIT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism, which helped provide training. the preparations has been the

On Thursday, WestJet Airlines will lift the curtain on a new plane and a new era.

The Calgary-based company has chosen Valentine’s Day to unveil its new 787 Dreamliner, which rolled out of the factory door at the Boeing manufacturing plant in Everett, Wash., last month. The 320-seat plane — the first of three arriving at WestJet’s Calgary headquarters this winter — is bigger, more technologically advanced, and more luxurious than anything the airline has flown before.

The aircraft’s arrival also represents a milestone that many within the company say is as significant a moment as the original launch of WestJet 23 years ago. When flights to London, Paris and Dublin begin this spring, WestJet’s new Dreamliner service (the company will take possession of a total of 10 787s by 2021, with an option to buy 10 more) will make the airline a truly international carrier able to go head-to-head with Air Canada in the global market.

But there’s much more to becoming an international carrier than just buying a few big planes. Behind the scenes at WestJet’s Calgary headquarters, teams have worked feverishly for months to get ready for the crucial April 28 launch date.

From food and beverage service to the launch of a new business cabin to the operation of the plane itself, this is a significant change for WestJet — and the company is determined to be ready.

REHEARSAL TIME

“Nobody goes to the playoff game without practising,” said Jeff Martin, WestJet’s chief operating officer. “We’re really practising.”

Martin made the comments in late January from inside WestJet’s new 125,000-square-foot, $50-million hangar — a facility built specifically to accommodate the new Dreamliners and the technicians and maintenance engineers who will work on them.

Construction is still underway on the facility, with a scheduled completion date of March 31 — and that’s OK, because until now, there hasn’t been a plane to put there. Since WestJet took delivery in January of the first Dreamliner, dubbed “Clive Beddoe” after the company’s founder, the jet has spent most of its time in Toronto undergoing Transport Canada testing.

While there, the plane was also subject to a strict practice regimen. At Toronto Pearson International Airport, WestJet employees spent several weeks rehearsing everything from boarding guests to fuelling to taxiing to and from the gate.

“We’re taking a very proactive approach with this aircraft, more so than we’ve ever done before,” Martin said. “It’s a brand-new aircraft. Nobody wants to scratch it, nobody wants to dent it.”

WestJet CEO Ed Sims said these “practice turns,” as they are known in industry parlance, are also an effort to hedge against some of the headaches that plagued the company in the summer of 2016, when it launched its transatlantic wide-body experiment for the first time. The used Boeing 767 jets the airline was using in its service to London-Gatwick were prone to mechanical difficulties, leading to flight delays, cancellations and compensation for passengers.

As a result of that experience, WestJet has scheduled just 14 flights a week for its Dreamliner service so that any unforeseen cancellations or interruptions can be more easily accommodated.

“We could fly the aircraft 21 times a week, so we’re effectively deliberately keeping one aircraft almost as an insurance policy,” Sims said. “We didn’t do that with the 767s.”

The rehearsals will continue next week, when WestJet will start using the Dreamliner to fly guests domestically on its Toronto-Calgary route to assist with crew familiarization. The aircraft’s first international flight from Calgary to London-Gatwick takes place April 28.

‘THE CULTURE IS TO SOME DEGREE ‘CHANGING’

The Dreamliner is a very different plane than the Boeing 737s that make up the majority of WestJet’s fleet. Its lightweight carbon fibre shell allows for a 20-per-cent reduction in fuel consumption, compared to traditional jets made of aluminum. Technological innovations also allow the Dreamliner to maintain lower cabin pressures at higher elevations, something that is said to reduce airsickness and jet lag.

WestJet’s Dreamliners have been configured with an economy cabin offering 320 seats, a premium economy cabin with 28 seats, and a business cabin with 16 lieflat pods. This marks a significant departure for WestJet, which for much of its history prided itself on its single-cabin, single-fare business model.

Richard Bartrem — WestJet’s vice-president of marketing and communications — said the transition to multiple fares is part of a broader strategy. Since Canada’s population is relatively small, the Calgary-based airline’s growth opportunities would be limited if it continued to rely solely on the domestic and leisure market.

“If we wanted to continue to grow as an airline, we would need to pivot towards that premium or business traveller,” Bartrem said. “This traveller travels more frequently, spends more when they do travel ... and so we recognized that would be a good opportunity for us.”

However, attracting business-class customers means veering away from WestJet’s once-cherished notion that all passengers should be treated the same.

“We are recognizing that if you spend a disproportionate amount of your money with one particular company, you would expect that company would treat you differently. And a gold or platinum customer sitting in a premium cabin is going to have a different expectation,” he said. “Instilling that thinking into the training we’re doing on the front lines has been interesting ... because the culture is, to some degree, changing.”

On WestJet’s new business class, passengers will enjoy touch-screen service and on-demand dining, as well as lie-flat mattresses, bedding and a turn-down service. In the premium cabin, in addition to extra leg room, passengers will also have access to a self-serve social area with snacks and beverages.

WestJet also has plans for dedicated airport lounges at its three major Canadian hubs — Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver. This is also a new development, as currently WestJet does not operate its own lounges. (It does have agreements with third-party service providers to provide free access to its rewards program members at select airport lounges).

TAKING SERVICE TO THE NEXT LEVEL

About 230 WestJet cabin crew members will be dedicated to the three 787s that will be based out of Calgary this year. As more Dreamliners are added, additional flight attendants will be trained until eventually, every cabin crew employee at WestJet will be qualified to work on the big planes.

As WestJet prepares to offer a high-end international service for the first time, extensive training is continuing behind the scenes for the cabin crew. In November, a group of WestJet flight attendants underwent five days of training with instructors from SAIT’s hospitality management program. They visited luxury hotels like the Fairmont Palliser and Azuridge Estate, practised plating food, and learned about wine origins and vintages.

“In the future we are not going to be able to get away with saying to a guest, ‘Would you like red or white wine?’” said Louis St. Cyr, WestJet’s vice-president of guest experience. “WestJetters are used to a certain level of service, and that’s always worked for us. But it’s not going to work on the international stage. We need to bring it up to the next level.”

A critical aspect of WestJet’s Dreamliner preparations has been the food service. The airline has opened kitchens in both London and Paris and spent several months listening to pitches from catering companies offering possible menus for business, premium and economy class.

If we wanted to continue to grow as an airline, we would need to pivot towards that premium or business traveller.

It’s a challenging proposition, St. Cyr said, because the food selected must not only taste good; it must also satisfy a variety of customer tastes and dietary needs while at the same time being easy and cost-effective to transport and store.

“You have to understand the math. You could theoretically spend 60 per cent of your budget on logistics and 40 per cent on the actual food, which would mean you’ve just killed the quality,” he said. “So, it’s a very tough thing.”

Still, St. Cyr said he is confident passengers will be pleased with the dine-on-board experience.

“It’s going to be elegant, it’s going to be great value, it’s going to be delicious. But there’s still going to be a touch of comfort to our food that’s aligned with our brand,” he said.

LIFTING SPIRITS

Sales for WestJet’s three new Dreamliner routes began in October, and Sims said results so far are stronger than projected — an indication the airline is correct in its assumption that there are untapped opportunities in the international market.

“It’s clear Western Canadians, even Western North Americans, feel they’ve been underserved with services from the West to Europe,” he said.

According to WestJet, the international scheduled service between Calgary and London-Gatwick, Paris and Dublin will support 650 full-time jobs and $100 million in total economic output.

The three new flights from the U.K. and Western Europe are expected to eventually bring up to 185,000 visitors to Calgary on a yearly basis.

Sims emphasizes WestJet is taking a cautious approach to international growth, and will be evaluating demand — as well as the choice of its next Dreamliner routes — very carefully.

“The biggest challenge for me is how I’m going to stop myself from going in every hour to look at the sales monitoring,” he said.

Still, he said the anticipation and excitement at WestJet’s Calgary campus is palpable. The airline had a rough year in 2018, posting its first quarterly loss in 13 years in July and watching its share price fall from $25.81 in February to $18 per share at year-end.

While a number of efforts — including the cancellation of unprofitable flights and an aggressive cost-cutting program — have already been initiated to turn the company’s financial performance around, Sims said the upcoming Dreamliner launch has given employees something positive to work toward.

“The 787 has had a huge effect on spirit. It’s sort of lifted people’s shoulders,” he said.

Sims added he hopes that when WestJet customers get their first glimpse of the Dreamliner — complete with shiny coat of paint, fresh new logo and redesigned cabin interior — they will respond the same way a small group of WestJet management and employees did when they saw the plane for the first time at the Boeing factory last month.

“You get that sharp intake of breath, followed up by, ‘Is this really WestJet?’ I expect that will be indicative of passenger reaction,” Sims said.

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16 hours ago, Super 80 said:

I understand FCO is next 767 destination after MAD.

I usually figure out the new destinations when I log into Facebook and see a half dozen WestJet middle managers all posting selfies and checking in to places in the future city :)  Last week, the good times were in Rome!

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8 hours ago, thor said:

Not only were they schooled , they were owned and the company still holds the cards. It was a concessenary contract.

LOL. I know weed is legal now, but you probably shouldn't smoke and post. How was this a "concessenary" contract in any way, shape or form? 180 million dollars says it ain't. You may not be happy that alpa is here, or maybe you didn't see any significant gains personally which is hard to argue since rigs benefit even the most senior guys, but calling the contract concessionary is a comment that is not based in reality whatsoever.

 

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Dreamliners expected to boost local economy

 

  • Calgary Herald
  • 15 Feb 2019
  • AMANDA STEPHENSON astephenson@postmedia.com Twitter.com/AmandaMsteph
img?regionKey=AhDbWG3PL7x9kXh%2bIJApiQ%3d%3dPHOTOS: GAVIN YOUNG WestJet says the Calgary market is underserved when it comes to wide-bodied, international flights. Above is the economy section of the company’s new Boeing 787.

The CEO of WestJet talked up his company’s commitment to its home base of Calgary on Thursday at a special event celebrating the imminent launch of the airline’s new Dreamliner service.

Speaking to reporters and invited guests, who were offered a first glimpse of the company’s first Boeing 787 aircraft before it begins scheduled service to Toronto next week and international service to London- Gatwick April 28, CEO Ed Sims said WestJet chose Calgary as its Dreamliner hub because it believes the market is currently under-served when it come s to wide-body, international flying. He said WestJet’s new Dreamliner service, which will also include flights to Paris and Dublin beginning this spring and summer, will offer Calgarians more convenient departure, arrival and connection times than any other airline.

“Calgary has typically had to fit into schedules designed around other airlines’ home bases,” Sims said. “Our evening flight times are designed to suit Calgarians, first and foremost. The rest of the world can fit around us.”

WestJet — which will take delivery of its second and third Dreamliners in February and March — will take possession of a total of 10 787s by 2021, with an option to buy 10 more. Hub locations and routes for the remaining seven aircraft have not yet been announced.

According to the airline, its international scheduled service between Calgary and London-Gatwick, Paris and Dublin will support 650 full-time jobs and $100 million in total economic output. The three new flights from the U.K. and Western Europe are expected to eventually bring as many as 185,000 visitors to Calgary on a yearly basis.

“These aircraft are for you, Calgary,” Sims said.

WestJet’s decision to make Calgary the home base for its Dreamliner service cannot be underestimated, said Rick Erickson, a Calgary-based independent aviation analyst.

“This is going to translate into tens of millions of dollars of economic activity that’s going to occur in our city that wouldn’t otherwise occur,” Erickson said. “We will have new passengers coming and going from all of these new international destinations this aircraft is capable of reaching.”

Erickson said WestJet’s decision to move into the wide-body international space is an “aggressive” one, and he acknowledged that some industry watchers have questioned if the airline is trying to grow too big, too fast. But he said the domestic market in Canada is simply too small for WestJet to continue with the status quo.

“I know some of the analysts were sort of naysayers about what was going on but, really, there comes a time and a place where if you want to grow the airline, you don’t have a choice,” Erickson said.

WestJet’s Dreamliners will carry 320 guests in a three-class cabin configuration, including — for the first time in the airline’s history — a business cabin featuring 16 private pods with lie-flat seats.

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On 2/12/2019 at 4:35 PM, beaverboy said:

Very well said.   The pilots were not "schooled" by the corp.   We gained in areas and didn't in others.   All in all once the corp implements the improvements in the new scheduling and duty rules (Kaplan award) the pilots should see more efficient schedules.   

 

I believe eve the last agreement by the last association managed about $18 million over the course of the deal.   A slight difference in the new deal we just received.

  

Beaverboy,  not sure where you get your information from,  but you are out by a $100 million as it was $118 million for the 2015 pilot agreement that would have run for four years NOT $18 million. Must say you are being consistent though with the ALPA mantra of untruths that never seems to end.   It’s interesting that if you listened to the 4th quarter conference call from WJ with analysts, the question was asked how much CASM cost increases for 2019 for the new pilot contract plus all the other employee groups negotiating new agreements, and the answer was..... Zero to 2%.  Aside from YOS, which is good to see, don’t see where the large amounts of money are going unless that includes the 500 extra pilots that will hired.   

Many pilots especially WB pilots are seeing the lowest take home pay, they have ever seen yet since our new contract started on January 1st.  Most pilots except those benefiting from YOS, will see reduced T4’s  and it will be interesting to see what comes out of the pension negotiations because not one more penny is actually going into the “pension”  line item, just some choices possibly between 20% ESP and or 10%ESP and 10 % some sort of pension program, with still the same total dollars.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Longranger said:

Beaverboy,  not sure where you get your information from,  but you are out by a $100 million as it was $118 million for the 2015 pilot agreement that would have run for four years NOT $18 million. Must say you are being consistent though with the ALPA mantra of untruths that never seems to end.   It’s interesting that if you listened to the 4th quarter conference call from WJ with analysts, the question was asked how much CASM cost increases for 2019 for the new pilot contract plus all the other employee groups negotiating new agreements, and the answer was..... Zero to 2%.  Aside from YOS, which is good to see, don’t see where the large amounts of money are going unless that includes the 500 extra pilots that will hired.   

Many pilots especially WB pilots are seeing the lowest take home pay, they have ever seen yet since our new contract started on January 1st.  Most pilots except those benefiting from YOS, will see reduced T4’s  and it will be interesting to see what comes out of the pension negotiations because not one more penny is actually going into the “pension”  line item, just some choices possibly between 20% ESP and or 10%ESP and 10 % some sort of pension program, with still the same total dollars.

 

 

Wow are you full of it. It was 25 million, during record profits and record share price. The ALPA deal is 180 million on a 1.5 billion dollar deal with 13.5% above baseline. Trip Rigs, Pension, and Years of Service. We were that far behind. The WJPA actually laughed at all of those concepts and even campaigned against these points in their anti-union drive. The disparity of wealth was in the inner ranks who have done much better now. Maybe your turn is next but it takes unity and engagement. Not constant destabilization and infighting that the WJPA specialized in. 

Oh the WJPA did get us Swoop. However, that was because we didn't have Scope, which ALPA finally brought in too. We'll be known as those industry pilots who just trusted our management to not give away 30 tails. 

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As everyone can see there is a big rift between the opposing parties. Therefore, the hope of unity is distant at best.

The ALPA MEC negotiators in their arrogance promised Delta wages or if arbitrated Air Canada's contract. They were out classed.

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1 hour ago, thor said:

As everyone can see there is a big rift between the opposing parties. Therefore, the hope of unity is distant at best.

The ALPA MEC negotiators in their arrogance promised Delta wages or if arbitrated Air Canada's contract. They were out classed.

Never did the ALPA MEC ever promise such a thing.    It's funny how some people try to blur the past    

Yes, there is a big rift.   The corp is not implementing the new agreement to its fullest.   They are dragging their feet.  

I'm  just glad that ALPA and our MEC are overlooking things now.  The oversight and transparency is a breath of fresh air from the last association.     

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Back on topic.

WestJet Dreamliner launches first revenue flight Français

 


News provided by

WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership

Feb 20, 2019, 09:10 ET

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CALGARY, Feb. 20, 2019 /CNW/ - WestJet's Dreamliner made its official debut when it pushed back on its first revenue flight today from Toronto Pearson International Airport. The aircraft, heading for Calgary, was carrying WestJet guests for the first time.

"Today's first revenue flight on the Dreamliner has been years in the making," said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. "There are big things in store for tail 901 as it is the first 787 that will take WestJet global."

 
 

The aircraft will operate on domestic flights for crew training and regulatory compliance before the first scheduled international flight between Calgary and London (Gatwick) on April 28.

Continued von zur Muehlen, "Canadians can expect an elevated premium product paired with the remarkable guest experience which has made us Canada's favourite airline according to TripAdvisor."

WestJet took delivery of its first of 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in January 2019 and the second Dreamliner arrived on February 19, 2019. The airline will receive the third aircraft in March. Hub locations and routes for the remaining seven aircraft have not yet been announced.

WestJet also has options for an additional 10 aircraft to arrive between 2020 and 2024.

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13 hours ago, thor said:

As everyone can see there is a big rift between the opposing parties. Therefore, the hope of unity is distant at best.

The ALPA MEC negotiators in their arrogance promised Delta wages or if arbitrated Air Canada's contract. They were out classed.

Sorry to go back off topic but this is an outright lie. There were no promises of this or any sort made. Seems like you have an axe to grind with some of the alpa guys based on your comments of "arrogance" and "out classed" etc. 

Keep trying to stir the pot though, it serves the company well to have the pilots divided. If you are a pilot, then maybe you should figure out who you should really be upset with if you are dissatisfied with the contract. Spoiler alert: it's not other pilots, especially those who volunteered to make things better for you and your other pilot friends.

I'm guessing you are like "P" up there, a WB guy who thinks he took a pay cut because of the DH credits being inside the block now. Don't fool yourself. The way the 767 has been scheduled so far is an anomoly. 4 (sometimes) airplanes hardly a fleet make. If you were here when the NGs first showed up, the schedules were light as a feather compared to the 200s and life was grand for the ng pilots. For a while. Fast forward a couple years when there were enough in the fleet to schedule properly...Newsflash for ya, when the wb operation actually gets up and running properly, you'll see how this contract actually improved your lot.

Now back to the regular programming. Great to see the 787 make it's first revenue flight. Exciting times ahead!

Edited by anonymous

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.

WestJet is in trouble. Is becoming more like Air Canada the fix?

Born as a scrappy discount upstart, WestJet has suffered through internal upheavals and badly lagged Air Canada in recent years. But now the airline is adding big new planes, a business class with lie-flat seats, an ultra-low-cost subsidiary and much more. Is any of it going to work?

Thu Feb 21, 2019 - Globe and Mail
Joe Castaldo

Last May, Ed Sims took the stage in an airplane hangar in Calgary in front of throngs of WestJet Airlines Ltd. employees. With the sweaty, almost endearing awkwardness that middle-aged men can’t shake during moments like this, the CEO goosed his audience to wave their hands in the air. “Play louder! Give it more!” Sims shouted to the DJ, and whipped off his suit jacket and tie. Once he deemed the crowd sufficiently enthused, Sims got to the matter at hand. “It’s not every day an airline gets to usher in a completely new business model,” he said.

Standing onstage wasn't a place Sims expected to be when he joined WestJet a year earlier. CEO succession wasn't even part of the discussion when he left New Zealand to move 12,000 kilometres to Calgary to join WestJet as an executive vice-president. But last March, then-CEO Gregg Saretsky stepped down abruptly, and two months later, here Sims was, charged with spearheading an ambitious international expansion plan.

Sims was showcasing an artist's rendering of WestJet's new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, a fuel-efficient widebody jet that will allow the airline to fly greater distances—perhaps someday to Asia. Ensconced in the 787s will be WestJet's first true business class cabin. Onstage, he cued up a promo video. The camera lingered on the stitching of the leather seats before panning to a businessman dining with a cloth napkin. Other passengers wandered around blissfully, stopping to chat at a wine bar. Come nighttime, our businessman donned pajamas and cozied up with a blanket, fully reclined in a lie-flat seat and still scrolling through his smartphone. Work never stops for our road warrior.

Born in 1996 as a scrappy domestic discount airline, WestJet now wants to attract well-heeled business travellers who will drop thousands for first-class service. In 2017, WestJet placed orders for 10 Dreamliners with an option for 10 more and will take delivery of three by March. Seven more will arrive over the next two years. The first international Dreamliner takes flight from Calgary to London in April, with Paris and Dublin to follow. The airline has also added a new highend tier to its loyalty program to entice bigger spenders.

It's all very unlike WestJet, the once-humble, low-cost, lowfare carrier known for corny in-flight jokes. But just what kind of airline it is these days is up in the air. Three of its four founders left long ago. The exception, and one of the last links to WestJet's early days, is Clive Beddoe, 72, who remains chair and a large shareholder.

If you ask Sims, he’ll tell you that “WestJet is a low-fare domestic airline, with a premium international arm,” which is a mouthful. What he won’t quite say directly is that WestJet increasingly resembles its archrival. Sims won’t even say the name Air Canada in an interview, referring to it as “our competitor.” He also jokes he’ll call it Voldemort, named after Harry Potter’s nemesis. Both carriers have separate budget-oriented airlines, regional brands and mainline offerings. Sims’s play for business travellers marks another push into Air Canada’s territory.

But as WestJet strays from its roots, it risks losing what made it unique. WestJet's appeal to investors over Air Canada has always been its lower cost structure, healthy balance sheet and gung-ho workplace culture. “We see these advantages quickly disappearing,” wrote CIBC analyst Kevin Chiang in a note last year. WestJet pilots unionized in 2017, and flight attendants joined the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) last August. There are rumblings other groups could be next. “It's just so shocking that it would happen at WestJet,” says Helane Becker, an analyst with Cowen and Co. LLC.

The company’s sagging share price reflects the stock market’s deep concern. WestJet suffered its first quarterly loss in 13 years in 2018, as its non-union operation started to crack. Over the past five years, WestJet’s share price has sunk by about 25%, while Air Canada’s has soared by more than 270%.

WestJet's push for growth is putting more pressure on the airline's culture and its financials. Sims, 55, will have to repair relations with employees and improve profitability, all while guiding the airline into uncertain territory when the 787s take flight. The market is clearly skeptical, but Sims is fully committed to reversing the malaise. After revealing a 3-D rendering of WestJet's 787 on stage last May, he wiped a mock tear from his eye and asked, “Isn't that beautiful?”

Quote

The comparison between wealthy athletes cleaning up after themselves and airline employees mopping after others struck some as out of touch. “He thought it was an innocent comment, but because of the environment and the toxicity that already existed, it got so spun out of proportion,” says one flight attendant. “If my comment was taken out of context, I apologize for that,”

“I’ll stand corrected, but I don’t think there is anybody else who will be offering a full lie-flat bed service into Gatwick,” “There’s probably a reason the other guys don’t do it.”

.

 

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