On Monday, WestJet officially launched its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, featuring its new long-haul Business cabin seats between Calgary and London-Gatwick Airports.
"Today is a fantastic day for WestJet, as we take this important step in our journey to become a full-service global network airline," said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet’s chief commercial officer. "The London market has quickly become an important one for us, with service from six cities across Canada. It is no accident that the first transatlantic flight on the Dreamliner is to our largest international market, from our largest hub and home in Calgary.”
The chairman of WestJet, Clive Beddoe, was also onboard the Dreamliner during its inaugural flight on Monday.
"Today is an emotional experience that I am delighted to share with my family, 320 WestJet guests, and our fantastic flight crew," said Beddoe. "We are pleased to see significant demand for our Business and Premium cabins as we provide travelers with conveniently timed flights along with our signature brand of Canadian care."
WestJet's Dreamliner can carry 320 guests in a three-class cabin configuration, including the airline's newly revealed Business cabin, featuring 16 private pods with lie-flat seats, an upscale Premium cabin, and an updated Economy cabin.
"The three years since WestJet's inaugural flight from Gatwick have been a real success story, with thousands of business and leisure passengers enjoying the vital, low-cost connections between the UK and Canada that these services have provided," said Guy Stephenson, Gatwick Airport’s chief commercial officer. "WestJet's presence at Gatwick continues to grow, and it's very exciting for us to be supporting the airline as it moves into this important new era.”
“The launch of the 787 Dreamliner will offer around 24,000 more Gatwick-Calgary seats per year on the same number of aircraft, and its highly fuel-efficient engines will also help us in our ongoing mission to become the UK's most sustainable airport," said Stephenson.
On May 17, WestJet will launch its inaugural direct Dreamliner flight between Calgary to Paris, and its final transatlantic flight between Calgary and Dublin will depart on June 1.
"As this first Boeing 787 Dreamliner takes flight for London-Gatwick, WestJet embarks on a new era of international service for the airline," said Bob Sartor, president and CEO, Calgary Airport Authority. "We're proud that WestJet's story took off at YYC, and we're here to support the airline going forward as more destinations are added."
WestJet is Calgary's largest airline, and by June 2019, the carrier plans to offer flights to 68 non-stop destinations with over 1,000 flights per week from Calgary International Airport.