Canada’s second-largest carrier WestJet is exuding optimism about its future as it recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. The airline is quite hopeful and said that it would be offering direct flights services to Asian destinations from British Columbia’s capital city Vancouver. It will however be required to tread carefully to transform the airline to a “fabulous Canadian success story”.
Gregg Saretsky, CEO of WestJet, while elaborating the airline’s performance during the past two decades, also spelt out the roadmap of the airline in the coming two decades. Several topics regarding aviation industry and the airline’s future prospects were extensively discussed during the 20th anniversary celebrations.
Earlier, WestJet had in September 2015 revealed its plan to enter the international market. During the period the airline launched nonstop flights to London Gatwick from six major cities in Canada. According to the airline, nearly 2 million passengers travel annually between London and Canada.
Saretsky said that UK has proved to be the biggest international market for Canada, particularly because of the historic relations between the two countries. The idea to introduce flights to Asia is expected to be successful whenever they are launched. This is specifically due to the large-scale Asian immigration, which has drastically transformed Canada. He said, “Asians residing in Canadian cities are increasingly traveling to the continent for meeting their family and relatives. This has significantly boosted the ties between Canada and Asia, and also strengthened economic ties as well. Presently, you can easily connect to many Chinese cities from Western Canada.”
Media reports said that WestJet is entering into codeshare partnership with Hainan Airlines in June 2016, and would be offering direct flights to Beijing from Calgary. Chinese travelers visiting Calgary would be able to conveniently connect to other Canadian cities such as Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon and Edmonton.
WestJet initially started its flights services in 1996 with only three aircrafts at its disposal. Over the years the airline has grown and currently boasts of 140 aircrafts in its fleet. In 2015, the airline carried above 20.3 million customers, and earned revenue of $4 billion.