WestJet Wins Low Cost Carrier Americas Award for 2018
WestJet is celebrating its 21st birthday as a major force in Canadian aviation and as the 2018 winner of the AirlineRatings Low-Cost Carrier Award for the Americas.
The Calgary-based carrier launched its first service on February 29, 1996 (which, given it was a leap year, may mean it’s technically only five years old) and has grown to become Canada’s second-biggest airline, carrying 21.9 million passengers in 2016.
Today, it boasts a fleet of more than 150 aircraft and a network that serves, along with regional offshoot WestJet Encore, more than 100 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe.
A network of codeshare partners adds another 175 destinations in 21 countries.
Low fares haven’t stopped WestJet giving passengers room to breathe with a seat pitch in the main cabin of 31-33 inches and 36-38 inches in its WestJet Plus section. Its WestJet Connect app offers free TV shows and movies as well as the ability to buy in-flight Internet packages.
It is well-regarded by customers and double-digit passenger growth for the third quarter of 2017 saw the number of guests hit an all-time record high of 6.5 million.
This came as the load factor also achieved a quarterly record of 85.7 percent.
Famous for its humorous April Fool’s day videos, WestJet earned community respect with events such as 2016’s “Snowflake Soiree” benefiting the residents of a Canadian town ravaged by wildfires.
It was rated Canada’s top company for corporate and social responsibility in 2016, finds itself consistently ranked as one of the top Canadian brands and in 2017 was again named the nation’s most trusted airline.
This year, it is introducing the first Boeing 737 MAX to Canada as part of an order for 50 of the fuel-efficient planes and it has 10 Boeing 787-9s on order.
“WestJet is a carrier that has established a reputation for flair, humor and community engagement,” the judges said. “We believe it is an airline going places.’’