News Releases

The WestJet Group CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech outlines strategic achievements and calls for series of affordability measures

Soaring Together: the airline's strategic growth report offers nationwide update on being the home carrier of the west, leading in leisure coast-to-coast and safeguarding affordability

The WestJet Group CEO calls for government review of Canada's user-pay model for aviation infrastructure

CALGARY, AB, May 22, 2024 /CNW/ - The WestJet Group today released Soaring Together its first progress report highlighting the airline's accomplishments across Canada since the launch of its growth strategy nearly two years ago.

"The WestJet Group continues to drive job creation, investment and economic prosperity through the deployment of our ambitious strategy that has enabled us to expand our network and unlock more affordable travel options for Canadians," said Alexis von Hoensbroech, WestJet Group Chief Executive Officer. "From coast-to-coast, communities depend on our reliable and affordable air service. As we build on our success to better serve our guests, we must take action to safeguard affordability."

Major Highlights:
  • In 2023, guests purchased more than 2.5 million tickets below $100 from The WestJet Group. Nearly 50 per cent of all tickets purchased were priced by WestJet under $200.
  • Across the last two years, The WestJet Group, has hired more than 5,400 employees and currently employs 15,000 people.
  • WestJet has positioned the YYC Calgary International Airport as its global hub, making it the best connected mid-sized city in North America. By the end of 2024, it's expected that The WestJet Group will grow its seat capacity in Calgary by 40 per cent from 2022 levels.
  • As Canada's western leader, WestJet is the number one carrier in eight of nine major Western Canadian airports.
  • WestJet is Canada's most dependable major airline, surpassing industry standards in on-time departures, arrivals, and completion rates. In April 2024, WestJet ranked second in on-time performance against all major North American carriers.
  • In 2023, WestJet completed its major acquisition of Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations, bolstering scale and market presence to bring the best vacation offerings to all Canadians. Currently, one in two vacation packages sold in Canada will be sold through the various brands that make up Sunwing Vacations Group.

Safeguarding affordability: The WestJet Group calls for a freeze on mandatory government-imposed fees and the permanent cessation of airport rent collection

Despite Canada's high cost and uncompetitive regulatory environment, since WestJet was founded in 1996, ticket prices in Canada have dropped by more than half in real terms, as a direct result of WestJet's entry and ongoing competition in the market.

Given concerns around affordability and competitiveness, WestJet is making the following policy recommendations to the federal government:

  1. A comprehensive review of Canada's user-pay system for aviation infrastructure. This review should consider competitiveness impacts, intermodal equity, border leakage and value for taxpayers
  2. An immediate freeze on mandatory imposed government fees, charges and policies that increase the cost of travel
  3. The cessation of the collection of airport rents by the federal government

"WestJet is committed to maintaining a transparent and low-cost structure that welcomes competition and drives the best value for our guests. Yet we operate in a very expensive and user-paid infrastructure environment that significantly drives up ticket prices for the everyday Canadian and hinders competition," continued von Hoensbroech. "Air travellers are paying too much in government fees and charges on their plane ticket compared to other nations and other modes of travel. These changes would increase competition, lower ticket prices, and foster greater transparency for our guests."

About WestJet

In 28 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 26 countries. 

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SOURCE WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership