Boeing [NYSE: BA] yesterday delivered the first of ten 787 Dreamliners to WestJet, marking the start of the airline's global expansion. Having long operated a fleet of Boeing single-aisle jets, WestJet will use the super-efficient, long-range 787-9 Dreamliner to profitably serve new international routes.
"Today's delivery marks a new chapter for WestJet," said Ed Sims, president and CEO of Calgary-based WestJet. "Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is one of the most technologically advanced aircraft ever flown and is the perfect platform for our transition to a global network carrier. We look forward to bringing Canadians to the world and the world to Canada in comfort and style."
This spring, WestJet will use the 787-9 – the longest-range Dreamliner that can fly 7,635 nautical miles (14,140km) – to offer the first-ever flight connecting Calgary and Dublin. The airline will also offer non-stop Dreamliner service between Calgary and London Gatwick and Calgary and Paris.
The 787 Dreamliner – the fastest-selling widebody jet in history with about 1,400 orders – allows airlines to reduce fuel use and emissions by 20 to 25 percent and serve far-away destinations. The combination of super fuel efficiency and long range has helped airlines save more than 30 billion pounds of fuel and open more than 210 non-stop routes.
WestJet's 787-9 will accommodate 320 passengers in a three-class configuration. The Dreamliner's passenger-pleasing interior, which includes large windows, lower-cabin altitude and smooth-ride technology, complements WestJet's all-new business cabin featuring the carrier's first lie-flat seats.
"We are excited to welcome our friends at WestJet to the Dreamliner family. The airline has achieved impressive growth with the Boeing 737 and will now use the 787's unmatched performance and passenger comforts to profitably launch a new 'global era'," said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing for The Boeing Company.
In preparation for its new Dreamliners, WestJet recently added digital solutions powered by Boeing AnalytX, to optimize its operations. These include Airplane Health Management, which provides predictive analytics to optimize WestJet's 787 fleet operations, as well as Toolbox, which delivers real-time information for technicians to quickly resolve maintenance issues and keep airlines on schedule.
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