WestJet first airline in Canada to fly Aero Design Lab’s drag reduction modification kit

DALLAS, March 21, 2023 /CNW/ — Aero Design Labs (ADL) today announced the first revenue flight in Canada with its proprietary drag reduction kit installed, with a WestJet 737-700 aircraft operating from Calgary to Toronto on March 20, 2023. As part of the testing and certification process, WestJet was the first airline in the world to install and operate with an ADL drag reduction kit on its aircraft. This milestone follows the Transport Canada issuance of a Supplemental Type Certificate for ADL’s drag reduction kit for installation on the Boeing 737-700 aircraft in December 2022.

“We are delighted to see our drag reduction kits flying with WestJet in Canada,” said Chris Jones, Aero Design Labs’ Chief Commercial Officer. “All of us at Aero Design Labs are grateful to WestJet and their teams who were pivotal in the testing and ultimate certification of our drag reduction kit. Together, we look forward to validating the reduced fuel burn and increased CO2 avoidance our kits provide.”

Through the use of proprietary computational fluid dynamics analysis, ADL’s drag reduction kits reduce the amount of drag on the aircraft which results in a reduced fuel burn and lowered CO2 emissions.

“We’re excited by the demonstrated success and environmental benefits our relationship with Aero Design Labs brings,” said WestJet’s Chief Operating Officer, Diederik Pen. “As innovation partners, we understand there’s still work to be done and as WestJet furthers our commitment to reducing CO2 emissions, we look forward to continuing our work with Aero Design Labs to validate data to determine further fleet implementation plans.”

“This WestJet flight marks the second airline to operate with our drag reduction kit in place in as many weeks,” continued Chris Jones. “We will gather more data from these flights and continue to build on the momentum of airlines installing our kits and a further understanding of the reduced fuel burn and CO2 emissions our customers are achieving.”

About Aero Design Labs L.L.C.

Founded in 2015, Aero Design Labs (ADL) leads the way in the research, development and installation of drag reduction systems for airline fleets globally. ADL modifications to airlines’ existing fleets can result in fuel savings and the potential for billions of pounds CO2 to be prevented from entering the atmosphere.

WestJet Cargo receives approval on behalf of Transport Canada certifying its 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters

Approval signals bright future for WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group as dedicated freighters prepare for takeoff with first departure set for April 22, 2023

CALGARY, AB, March 20, 2023 /CNW/ – WestJet Cargo today announced that it has received Transport Canada’s approval and official certification of its four 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF). Following certification, WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group will expeditiously implement three freighters into service, as dedicated aircraft that will fulfill the large-scale needs of businesses, freight forwarders, shippers and individual customers across North America. The fourth of WestJet Cargo’s dedicated freighters is expected to join the accompanying fleet later this year, following the completion of its conversion.

“Today is a long-awaited milestone for WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group, that will now enable us to disrupt the air cargo industry in Canada by providing our customers with more choice, competitive prices and the exemplary customer service synonymous with the WestJet brand, but unique to the air cargo industry,” said Kirsten de Bruijn, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Cargo. “We thank Transport Canada for its dedication to certifying these aircraft, which will serve to better support Canada’s national transportation supply chain through increased competition and capacity within Canada’s air cargo market.”

Seamlessly integrating into WestJet Cargo’s existing operations and operated by WestJet’s highly skilled 737 pilots, the dedicated freighters will initially focus service within North America, serving Calgary, Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Miami. Leveraging its quick to load and fly narrow body aircraft, the 737-800 equipped with CFM56-7B engines will enable WestJet Cargo to offer greater fuel efficiency, flexibility and frequency for its customers, beginning April 22, 2023.

WestJet Cargo’s dedicated freighter routes will further connect to the bellies of WestJet’s fleet, serving to accommodate the diverse needs of cargo customers in leveraging the airline’s expansive network.

“Today’s announcement was made possible by our incredibly talented team of cargo experts and the GTA Group, our valued partner, who have worked diligently towards this achievement that brings WestJet Cargo one step closer to fulfilling our mission to bring competitive cost advantages and reliable on-time performance to Canada’s underserved cargo landscape,” continued de Bruijn.

“Today is an exciting day for the GTA Group as we celebrate this highly anticipated moment that will bring our partnership with WestJet Cargo to new heights,” said Mario (Mauro) D’Urso, Chairman of the GTA Group of Companies. “Through the capacity of these four dedicated freighters, we are now in an excellent position to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Canadian cargo market.”

WestJet Cargo freighter bookings will be made available on April 1, 2023. To learn more about how WestJet Cargo’s team, network and flight plans can fulfill a diverse array of shipping needs, visit WestJet Cargo.  

About WestJet Cargo

A dedicated division of the WestJet Group of Companies, WestJet Cargo provides air cargo services to businesses, freight forwarders, shippers and individual customers. Providing safe, reliable air-shipping for customers and businesses, WestJet Cargo utilizes the expansive network of WestJet’s wide and narrow-bodied aircraft and its newly introduced fleet of four dedicated Boeing 737-800 Converted Freighters (BCF) to meet the diverse needs of its cargo customers. For more information on WestJet Cargo please visit: westjetcargo.com.

About WestJet

In 27 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 110 destinations in 24 countries.  

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.

WestJet revitalizes commitment to Kelowna with CEO visit to region

March 17, 2023 – News Release

WestJet Group Chief Executive Officer Alexis von Hoensbroech today joined Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas and Airport Director Sam Samaddar to meet with valued partners and leaders across Kelowna’s business, travel and tourism sectors. Those gathered discussed the importance of WestJet’s investments in the region and the airline’s renewed focus on Kelowna as the airline’s ambitious growth strategy takes flight.    “WestJet is a highly valued partner at Kelowna International Airport and for our entire City,” said Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas. ”I am excited to see this relationship continue to grow through additional air service to support development of our local community” 

This summer, through the resumption of service to popular domestic destinations and enhanced frequencies on existing routes, WestJet’s total seat capacity to Kelowna International Airport will increase by 28 per cent compared to 2022 and further strengthen the region’s visitor and business economies. Through today’s visit to the region, WestJet remains committed to continuing to work alongside key partners to further build upon its 27-year legacy of serving the community.    “WestJet has been part of the Kelowna community for 27 years,” said Samaddar. “WestJet’s commitment to Kelowna has allowed us to grow exponentially to become the 10th busiest Airport in the country.” 

“WestJet is incredibly proud of our longstanding history of investment in Kelowna which has spanned across our 27-years of serving Canadians,” said von Hoensbroech. “Ensuring that we take the time to connect with our airport and community partners is a vital aspect of our new strategy as we work to collectively ensure that Kelowna continues to benefit from affordable air travel and enhanced connectivity to popular destinations across WestJet’s growing network.”   

Details WestJet’s Summer Schedule from Kelowna:  

Kelowna – Calgary        8x daily      Daily  Kelowna – Edmonton      35x weekly      Daily   Kelowna – Regina      2x weekly      Sunday, Thursday  Kelowna – Saskatoon      2x weekly      Monday, Friday  Kelowna – Vancouver      7x daily      Daily  Kelowna – Victoria      1x daily       Daily  Kelowna – Winnipeg      3x weekly      Monday, Wednesday, Friday  

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With Sunwing acquisition approved, WestJet must ensure its plan will benefit workers, customers

TORONTO, March 10, 2023 /CNW/ – With the simultaneous decisions from the Competition Bureau and Transport Canada’s public interest review approving WestJet’s acquisition of Sunwing, Unifor remains steadfast that the acquisition must result in increased job quality for workers at Sunwing and WestJet.  

Westjet and Sunwing planes. (CNW Group/Unifor)
Westjet and Sunwing planes. (CNW Group/Unifor)

“The conditions placed on this sale do not address our very serious concerns or the worries of our members. There is just no meat on the bones here. There aren’t any specifics on how the company will execute these conditions or how government will enforce the conditions to ensure they are met,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne.

“In order to guarantee consistent high-quality service for customers, WestJet and Sunwing must ensure the existing collective agreements are respected, end their practice of contract flipping to reduce labour costs and start paying a living wage. Without these actions, the acquisition will not solve the underlying problems of the industry.”

WestJet and Sunwing announced the deal, subject to regulatory approval, on March 2, 2022, with the promise of lower prices for consumers and crew optimization for workers.

Unifor filed a public interest submission to Transport Canada in July 2022, outlining its concerns, recommending the Canadian government ought to block the acquisition unless WestJet can guarantee job creation, investment in workers across the company to improve job quality and customer experience, and respect and accept existing collective agreements.

The union is calling on government to create a tri-partite committee including labour, government and the company to oversee the implementation of these conditions, ensuring accountability and follow-through.

“Given the chaos at Sunwing during the holiday travel season, this approval was almost inevitable. It’s unfortunate to see government hasn’t used the opportunity presented to flex its muscle and require conditions that will improve industry dynamics,” added Payne.

The aviation sector is struggling to attract and keep workers right now. Low wages, unpredictable hours, on-the-job harassment and contract flipping are all challenges workers in the industry are facing.

WestJet will have more work to do to improve job quality and attract more desperately needed workers to the industry.

“We’ve seen what happens when there’s no long-term plan to attract and retain workers in the industry,” said Leslie Dias, Unifor’s Director of Airlines. “We need the government to leverage the power it has, including through these conditions, to increase job quality and set the industry on a more resilient and sustainable course.”

Unifor represents 16,000 members across Canada in the aviation sector, including nearly 2,000 directly affected by the potential acquisition of Sunwing by WestJet, including 450 Sunwing pilots, 1,000 WestJet customer service representatives in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto.

It also has 550 members who work for Swissport, a contract company doing work for Sunwing in Vancouver and Toronto and 41 members at ATS, who perform work contracted by WestJet.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

WestJet Cabin Crew Union Responds to Cabin Crew Announcement

March 10, 2023 06:04 PM Eastern Standard Time

CALGARY–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Alia Hussain, President of CUPE Local 4070 (WestJet Cabin Crew) issued the following statement about the approval of the Sunwing acquisition by WestJet.

On behalf of the 4,000 Flight Attendants and Cabin Crew Members working for the WestJet group of companies, we are pleased that there is now certainty about the purchase of Sunwing by WestJet.

While we are cautiously optimistic about the growth of WestJet, there remains a number of important unanswered questions. We need to know more about WestJet’s ability to finance this project, and we want to better understand how this will impact the working lives of our members. We will continue to push WestJet for answers on these questions.

Our members work for, and even celebrate, the successes of the company. But employees need more information to fully understand what the impacts will be.

WestJet Group provides update about Sunwing transaction

Canadian Government issues order finding that the transaction is in the public interest

CALGARY, AB, March 10, 2023 /CNW/ – The WestJet Group today issued a statement following the Government of Canada’s issuance of an order finding that the proposed acquisition of Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines is in the public interest, taking into account certain measures.

“We are pleased that the regulatory review of the transaction is now complete,” said Angela Avery, WestJet Group Executive Vice-President and Chief People, Corporate & Sustainability Officer. “We thank the Minister of Transport and the Commissioner of Competition, and the staff of Transport Canada, the Competition Bureau, and the Canadian Transportation Agency, for their efforts to review the transaction.”

The issuance of the order is an important milestone in the process toward closing the transaction.

About the WestJet Group of Companies

In 27 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit www.westjet.com.