A big step for the once single-class, single-type, LCC.
Westjet’s 787-9 will all be seating up to 320 passengers. 16 Business Class in a 1-2-1 direct-aisle access configuration. 28 Premium Economy in the de-rigeur 2-3-2 and 38″ of pitch. Leaving 244 seats in industry standard 3-3-3 Economy at 31″.
WestJet will be flying this plane between Calgary and Toronto, From February 20 to April 27. From there, as more planes arrive and the aircraft is certified for ETOPS flying, Calgary-based WestJet passengers will be able to fly the aircraft from YYC to Gatwick daily until October 26. Other destinations, such as Paris (starting May 17 until October 20) will be four times a week, and Dublin (starting June first until October 19) will be thrice weekly.
The 787-9 represents not only WestJet’s first new-build long-haul airliner. It represents a shift in business plan.
For once, in the words of WestJet’s CEO Ed Simms – Albertans will have an airline that flies around their schedule. A problem people native to Alberta have had since international air travel became a thing.
The first three 787-9 will be based in Calgary, perhaps more will – WestJet has yet to make a formal announcement and did not choose to at their event.
Looking Around WestJet’s new baby
The 16 Recaro 6710 Business Class “pods” in WestJet parlance look fantastic. Each has 40″ of pitch – but becomes a flat bed.
WestJet could not confirm their choice of vendor for Premium Economy and Economy seats, but they certainly look like something from Recaro’s catalogue.
The cabins are unlike anything WestJet has ever done, and focus on a distinctly Canadian branding. They even have loon calls. No, that is not a joke.
Everything about this aircraft has been designed to evoke “The Spirit of Canada.” So says WestJet’s VP of Guest Experience and In-Flight Operations Louis Saint-Cyr.
Yes. WestJet will offer their WestJet connect product on all their 787-9.
WestJet has spent a lot of money on their 787-9 fleet to transition their brand away from being a strictly leisure carrier.
Be it seeking a growing amount of business passengers to directly compete with Air Canada or to carve out a Premium Leisure distinction – they have successfully redefined themselves with this new aircraft.