Canadian budget carrier WestJet took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner this month. The airline plans to have three of the new 320-seat aircraft in service on Paris, London and Dublin transatlantic routes by the start of the summer travel season. The new planes will feature three cabins, including a business class with lie-flat seats.
At a ceremony marking the delivery of WestJet’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Thursday, the budget carrier’s CEO Ed Sims dedicated the new plane to the Calgary-based airline’s founder Clive Beddoe. The new aircraft is the first of three 320-seat Dreamliners expected to enter service this spring.
“Today’s delivery marks a new chapter for WestJet,” Sims told the crowd at Paine Field Snohomish County Airport (PAE). “Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is one of the most technologically advanced aircraft ever flown and is the perfect platform for our transition to a global network carrier. We look forward to bringing Canadians to the world and the world to Canada in comfort and style. Because of the leadership, vision and commitment of our Founder and Chairman, Clive, we had the opportunity to fly our Dreamliner home today. It’s fitting the aircraft bears our founder’s name as we welcome the future of WestJet.”
The “Clive Beddoe” is slated to be employed on a new route between Calgary International Airport (YYC) and London Gatwick Airport (LGW). The remaining two Dreamliners scheduled for delivery will serve new Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Dublin Airport (DUB) routes starting in March.
The new three cabin Dreamliners feature three cabins including economy, class WestJet Premium and business class. The latter product includes lie-flat seats arranged in a 1x2x1 configuration with a communal lounge area.
Although the new Dreamliners were designed and ordered with international routes in mind, passengers flying domestically will have a brief window to experience the new aircraft’s amenities. Prior to the launch of YYC-LGW service in late April, WestJet will fly the new plane on its YYC-Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ) route to “assist with crew familiarization.”
In addition to the three 787 Dreamliners scheduled for delivery in the first months of 2019, the budget carrier has an option for seven additional aircraft. in public statements, both WestJet and Boeing sound optimistic that the Canadian carrier’s need for long-haul wide body jets will continue to grow along with its expanding international route map.
“We are excited to welcome our friends at WestJet to the Dreamliner family,” Boeing VP Ihssane Mounir said at the handover ceremony. “The airline has achieved impressive growth with the Boeing 737 and will now use the 787’s unmatched performance and passenger comforts to profitably launch a new ‘global era.’”
For more information, or to book, head to WestJet’s Dreamliner page here.