WestJet CEO Urges Airline to ‘Safeguard Affordability’

A WestJet Boeing 737 MAX 10 in flight.
Photo Credit: WestJet

The WestJet Group (WestJet) recently unveiled “Soaring Together,” a report outlining its achievements across Canada since implementing its ambitious growth strategy two years ago.

This commitment to expansion aims to unlock more affordable travel options for Canadians while driving job creation and economic prosperity.

“WestJet Group remains a powerful force for good in Canada,” declared Alexis von Hoensbroech, WestJet Group CEO.

“Our strategy fuels network expansion and fosters reliable, budget-friendly air travel for communities coast-to-coast.”

“As we build on this success and enhance the guest experience, we must champion affordability.”

WestJet Officially Launches Flights to Iceland from Calgary

2023 Key Achievements

  • Record-Breaking Value: In 2023, WestJet offered over 2.5 million tickets under $100, and nearly half of all tickets were priced below $200.
  • Job Growth Engine: Over the past two years, WestJet has hired more than 5,400 employees, bringing its total workforce to 15,000.
  • Calgary: A Thriving Hub: WestJet has solidified YYC Calgary International Airport as its global hub.

The airline played a key role in transforming Calgary into North America’s best-connected mid-sized city for air travel. By year-end 2024, WestJet Group anticipates a 40% increase in Calgary seat capacity compared to 2022.

  • Western Dominance: As Canada’s western leader, WestJet reigns supreme as the number one carrier in eight out of nine major Western Canadian airports.
  • Punctuality Powerhouse: WestJet boasts the title of Canada’s most dependable major airline.
Sunwing Flight for Montreal Gets Stuck on Cuba Runway
Photo Credit: Boeing.

WestJet has consistently exceeding industry standards for on-time departures, arrivals, and completions. Notably, in April 2024, WestJet secured the second-place ranking for on-time performance among all major North American carriers.

  • Vacation Powerhouse: In 2023, WestJet solidified its position as a leader in vacation travel through the acquisition of Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations.

This strategic move strengthens WestJet’s presence and allows them to offer Canadians the best vacation packages available.

Currently, half of all vacation packages sold in Canada originate from brands within the Sunwing Vacations Group.

A WestJet 737 approaches to land.
Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Championing Affordability

WestJet Group advocates for a freeze on mandatory government-imposed fees and a permanent halt to airport rent collection.

They acknowledge the high costs and uncompetitive regulatory environment in Canada. However, they highlight that since their inception in 1996, ticket prices have decreased by more than half (in real terms) due to WestJet’s fierce competition within the market.

To address affordability concerns and bolster competitiveness, WestJet proposes the following policy recommendations to the federal government:

  • Comprehensive Review: A thorough examination of Canada’s user-pay system for aviation infrastructure, considering the impact on competitiveness, fairness across transportation modes (intermodal equity), the potential for travelers to switch to alternative travel options (border leakage), and overall value for taxpayers.
  • Fee Freeze: An immediate freeze on all mandatory government fees, charges, and policies that contribute to rising travel costs.
  • Airport Rent Reform: The cessation of airport rent collection by the federal government.

CEO Closing Comments

“WestJet prioritizes transparency and low-cost operations to foster competition and deliver exceptional value to our guests,” emphasized von Hoensbroech.

“However, the high costs associated with our user-pay infrastructure significantly inflate ticket prices for Canadians and hinder competition within the industry.”

“Travelers are burdened with excessive government fees and charges compared to other countries and modes of transportation. These proposed changes would stimulate competition, lower ticket prices, and enhance transparency for our valued customers.”

Click the banner to subscribe to our weekly newsleter.

Click the photo to join our WhatsApp channel so then you can stay up to date with everything going on in the aviation industry!

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
You Might Also Enjoy