ONTARIO — WestJet (WJ/WJA) of Calgary has become the first Canadian operator of the Boeing 737 MAX next generation airliner, shortly ahead of Air Canada (AC/ACA) which expects its first delivery in November.
The first aircraft for Westjet was Boeing 737 MAX 8 C-FRAX f/n 301 which was officially unveiled in Calgary on October 11th. it is the first of 50 737 MAXs scheduled for delivery to WestJet through 2027.
C-FRAX (c/n 60510/6384) came off the Boing 737 production line at Renton in May 2017. It made its first flight from Renton on Sep 21 as BOE401 registered as N6069R. It received its Canadian registration C-FRAX on September 26th and was delivered from Boeing Field (KBFI) in Seattle to Calgary on September 29th. C-FNAX f/n 302 (msn 60511) was also handed over in late September and was delivered to Calgary on October 2.
WestJet expects to take delivery of four 737 MAX 8s this year out of a current type order total of twenty-three. A further four are due next year at which time its first of seven 737 MAX 9s are due to arrive.
The two new aircraft remained at WestJet’s Calgary facility after delivery for inspections, training and test flights (One an hour long on October 11). The inaugural revenue flight was a Calgary to Toronto as WJA662 on October 12, 2017, and the reciprocal flight as WJA667.
The 737 MAXs are expected to officially enter service on November 9, 2017, and will be deployed on WestJet’s routes between Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto initially before being added to international routes.
The Boeing 737 MAX is powered by CFM International’s LEAP-1B engines, designed for fuel efficiency and noise reduction. Overall, the aircraft is 14 percent more fuel-efficient than current 737 Next-Generations and have a reduced operational noise footprint of up to 40 percent through quiet-engine technology. WestJet’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft feature a single cabin with 174 seats.
The seating configuration consists of three rows of Plus in addition to 11 more rows with a seat pitch of 34 inches. Further enhancing WestJet’s guest experience, the aircraft comes with Boeing’s new Sky Interior which has features such as customizable LED lighting and new speakers to improve sound and clarity of onboard announcements.
“We are proud to make history as the first Canadian airline to receive the Boeing 737 MAX,” said Ed Sims, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial. “The MAX’s design updates, including Boeing’s Advanced Technology winglets and the Boeing Sky Interior, will contribute to improvements in fuel efficiency and overall guest experience. We look forward to welcoming guests on board our sleek new aircraft along with our signature caring, people-driven service.”
“We worked closely with WestJet to make sure the 737 MAX raises the bar when it comes to efficiency, reliability and the passenger experience,” said Brad McMullen, Boeing’s Vice-President of Sales for the Americas.
“This is a great airplane for a great customer, and we’re excited to see WestJet put the MAX into service,” he said.
WestJet’s fleet is made up of all Boeing jetliners, and Bombardier turboprops. It currently consists of 117 Boeing Next-Generation 737s, four Boeing 767s and 42 Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft.
WestJet has also entered into a definitive purchase agreement for 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with the first aircraft expected to be delivered in January 2019. With one of the youngest fleets in the airline industry, WestJet continues its global growth while controlling operating costs and providing an award-winning guest experience.