Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > WestJet | WestJet Rewards
Reload this Page >

WestJet strategy shift [was B787 Order Cancellation]

WestJet strategy shift [was B787 Order Cancellation]

Old Jun 16, 22, 11:22 am
  #1  
Original Member
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 1,582
WestJet strategy shift [was B787 Order Cancellation]

WS will be taking delivery of one more B787 for total of seven (7). All remaining B787 orders to be cancelled with no penalty as competitive strategy evolves.
cirrusdragoon and V1213 like this.
Fisch is online now  
Old Jun 16, 22, 12:07 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: YMJ (YQR)
Programs: Qantas Platinum, WestJet Gold
Posts: 206
This seems like it's part of a broader strategic review under the new CEO:
Securing the future: how a growing, stronger, sustainable WestJet benefits Canadians

Other key points include:
  • The airline will centre its existing widebody 787 Dreamliner fleet around Western Canada.
  • Shifting resources to significantly grow its presence and network in the West, fostering its undisputed status as the home-team carrier of Western Canada offering more direct, non-stop flights to communities.
  • In addition to the more than 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that the airline will receive over the coming years, including 15 in 2022 alone, WestJet is working towards a substantial additional narrow body order.
  • The airline will maintain its current premium offerings, with a focus on strengthening its premium leisure segment and corporate premium in the West. The focus of WestJet’s regional fleet of De Haviland Q400 aircraft will be shifted and rightsized to focus on Western Canada, removing complexity from operations, and prioritizing the airline’s commitment to enhance Western Canada’s connectivity.
  • The acquisition of Sunwing will facilitate the scaling of WestJet Vacations and Swoop.
  • WestJet and Swoop will run more complementary networks and collectively meet the demand of leisure travellers.
  • Guests can anticipate seeing changes gradually implemented by summer 2023.
So, it sounds like more love in the west, and less in the east, particularly when it comes to local connectivity. In addition to the 787s being centred around Western Canada I wonder if this means the YYZ hub, and widebody international flights from there, are dead? Despite this, "Investing further in leisure and sun flying as a priority across Canada", "Narrow body growth" and a "substantial additional narrow body order" could speak to keeping a presence YYZ-LGW (but not YYZ-BCN) on the MAXes in future.

Could the "right sizing" of the Q400 fleet, "more direct, non-stop flights" in the west, and a "substantial additional narrow body order" speak to an E-jet or A220 order?

As discussed here previously, the Sunwing acquisition will at least partially boost the Swoop fleet.

Last edited by V1213; Jun 16, 22 at 12:18 pm
V1213 is offline  
Old Jun 16, 22, 1:49 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: YYC, Canada
Programs: AC 35k
Posts: 1,768
This strategy is terribly disappointing.

787 strategy means Europe flying only from Western Canada with no expansion into Asia.
LCC focus means little evolution of their premium products.
Withdrawal from Eastern Canada means more pressure on international carriers and AC in YYC, making it even more of a fortress hub than it already is.
Eastern Canada focus will be on leisure routes, so think sun flying from YYZ and that's it.
YXUFlyboy is online now  
Old Jun 16, 22, 2:43 pm
  #4  
Original Member
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 1,582
Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy View Post
This strategy is terribly disappointing.

787 strategy means Europe flying only from Western Canada with no expansion into Asia.
LCC focus means little evolution of their premium products.
Withdrawal from Eastern Canada means more pressure on international carriers and AC in YYC, making it even more of a fortress hub than it already is.
Eastern Canada focus will be on leisure routes, so think sun flying from YYZ and that's it.
As an Employee on the all-Company broadcast this morning, I can tell you this isnt so much a strategy refocus for the heck of it - rather being all things to all segments of the market wont allow for a sustainable WestJet. WS in the middle between an AC that owns the east, and new entrants in the West require a pragmatic and sound refocus.

There will be evolution in the future.
aerobod, SoroSuub1, YYCCL3 and 1 others like this.
Fisch is online now  
Old Jun 16, 22, 2:46 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: YYC, Canada
Programs: AC 35k
Posts: 1,768
Originally Posted by Fisch View Post
As an Employee on the all-Company broadcast this morning, I can tell you this isnt so much a strategy refocus for the heck of it - rather being all things to all segments of the market wont allow for a sustainable WestJet. WS in the middle between an AC that owns the east, and new entrants in the West require a pragmatic and sound refocus.

There will be evolution in the future.
So this is primarily a siren call to defend the west against the ULCC startups? How fortunate for AC.
Speedbird84 likes this.
YXUFlyboy is online now  
Old Jun 16, 22, 3:07 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: YYJ
Posts: 3,993
Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy View Post
So this is primarily a siren call to defend the west against the ULCC startups? How fortunate for AC.
And more so for Porter, given their order of 30 Embraer 195 E2.
Speedbird84 likes this.
cedric is offline  
Old Jun 16, 22, 4:07 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 22
Originally Posted by cedric View Post
And more so for Porter, given their order of 30 Embraer 195 E2.
My thoughts exactly. Alexis says theyve been losing money on the Eastern triangle and with Porter coming in theres even less chance to make money. Obviously the Q isnt the right airplane to compete, but I dont think a new type is in the plans for now.

Gotta go where the money is.
deskcaptain is offline  
Old Jun 16, 22, 4:23 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 359
YYC cannot support 6 or 7 fully utilized 787 Dreamliners in the winter.
So YVR should be getting them in the winter too.

The strategy seems like a drastic shift with the new routes to EDI, GLA, DUB from YYZ this summer, as well as, increasing YYZ-LGW to 9x weekly.
With this strategy, also looks like the seasonal MAX flights to Europe from YHZ is going to be no more after this summer?
Folks in Montreal must be very happy today...

I guess it is also inevitable to have WO start operations at YYC.

significantly grow its presence and network in the West
What more is there to grow?
Going to start 2-4x weekly winter season service from YYC to places like MIA/TPA/SXM/AUA/POP/PLS?
I guess a few more European destinations in the summer like shifting BCN to YYC and maybe adding ATH/MXP/DXB?
But not sure how you can grow more significantly unless they are talking about serving many of the smaller western US destinations with Q400 and Saab 340
On Time Reports is offline  
Old Jun 16, 22, 4:37 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: YYC, Canada
Programs: AC 35k
Posts: 1,768
Originally Posted by On Time Reports View Post
YYC cannot support 6 or 7 fully utilized 787 Dreamliners in the winter.
So YVR should be getting them in the winter too.
They'll run them on core Europe (LGW/LHR/CDG) and sun destinations like Hawaii, CUN, PVG.

Originally Posted by On Time Reports View Post
What more is there to grow?
This. I don't get where they'll put all of the DH4 aircraft in the west. All the markets are served. Unless they just intend to cut the DH4 fleet and replace with E-Jets.
Speedbird84 likes this.
YXUFlyboy is online now  
Old Jun 16, 22, 4:51 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 359
Also what's happening with the proposed refiling of the transborder JV with Delta?
On Time Reports is offline  
Old Jun 16, 22, 5:00 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: The World
Posts: 1,266
Today's big strategy announcement?

Some of it is interesting, some is just plain confusing. Most of all I find it shocking ... a mainstream carrier who makes zero mention of business travel in their long-term strategy, but countless mentions of leisure travel. This is more than a retraction from eastern Canada to the west. It seems to be a retraction from wanting to be major player to just being a niche carrier.

  • Growth as a low-cost carrier that is friendly, reliable and modern
Huh? WestJet really was an LCC back when they started up ... when they were kind of a flying bus service. They're not an LCC today, but they keep calling themselves an LCC. Their cost structure isn't that far off of other mainstream airlines in North America. And their prices are pretty much the same. So what exactly is von Hoensbroech getting at when his first strategy point is all about doubling down on something that - realistically - they are not.


  • Shifting resources to significantly grow its presence and network in the West, fostering its undisputed status as the home-team carrier of Western Canada offering more direct, non-stop flights to communities
A big part of their growth in the not-too-distant past was to be the Canadian partner to a number of international carriers, like Delta. With Delta, WestJet benefitted from a solid cross-border business travel offering. Now, they seem to be pulling back to being more of a regional player than a Canadian player. (Sure, they say they'll still be a national carrier. But that seems like a big stretch given that they're already very much a west-centric carrier, saying that in the future they will double down on western Canada.)

What will Delta (and other partner airlines) who relied on WestJet being a national partner do? How will they react? And does WestJet even care?

And beyond that, there's no mention of alliances or partners in this strategy ... which is telling, because it was a big part of the pre-COVID strategy.

...more direct, non-stop flights to communities
von Hoensbroech mentions this as an add-on to his comment about pulling back to focus on Western Canada. That makes me wonder if Calgary's status as a hub is going to be reduced -- and instead they'll have more non-stops offered from more cities across the west. Less hub-and-spoke, and more point-to-point? If so, good news for the likes of YEG and YWG. But, if so, that's a negative for YYC. WestJet's focus on Calgary as a hub has given Calgary non-stop routes to a lot of cities that YYC probably would only get by being a hub.

Investing further in leisure and sun flying as a priority across Canada
a focus on strengthening its premium leisure segment
significantly enhancing our network to leisure and sun destinations
WestJet and Swoop will run more complementary networks and collectively meet the demand of leisure travellers
Leisure, leisure, leisure, leisure. As someone who flies a lot for business and a lot for leisure (and who wants to stick with one airline), this scares me. It sure sounds like WestJet is going back to what they used to be ... i.e. what they were before they decided they wanted to group up and become a full service, mainstream carrier.

Now, I'm just one customer. But it really concerns me that the new focus seems to be on occasional customers who fly to Vegas or Cancun for an annual vacation.

There's no mention in here at all of serving business travellers - absolutely nothing - and barely anything about frequent fliers. That's mind-blowing. Imagine a strategy document from Air Canada or any of the U.S. majors with a sole focus on leisure travel but said not a single word about business travel. It just wouldn't happen.

Once this strategy is fully in play, will WS even be an option for my business travel? Or am I going to be back on AC (or UA or DL) for my work travel? (But WestJet hopes I'll still stick with them for a couple of vacations a year?)

WestJet and Swoop will run more complementary networks and collectively meet the demand of leisure travellers.
As I've ranted about here before, I'm just as much a journey person as a destination person. If I want to go to a leisure destination (whether I'm going for work or fun) I absolutely, positively will only do it on a full service airline that offers (among other things) leg room, options, and recognition of status. If this "complementary network" to leisure destinations means that a flight to LAX or LAS or OGG must be on Swoop or on Sunwing ... buh-bye. Been there, done that, when Air Canada "Rouged" me a few years ago -- which resulted in Air Canada driving me and my business to WestJet.

Meanwhile, things not mentioned at all in this major strategy announcement:

- Business travel, business customers
- Loyalty programs (other than a single, passing mention)
- Key partnerships, i.e. Delta
- the Delta JV
- International growth

All of these are pretty glaring in their absence. They're a business, and they gotta do what they gotta do in order to survive and thrive. But, as a customer, I'm concerned.
Speedbird84 and gcashin like this.

Last edited by FlyerJ; Jun 16, 22 at 5:13 pm
FlyerJ is offline  
Old Jun 16, 22, 5:07 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: YYC, Canada
Programs: AC 35k
Posts: 1,768
WestJet - Western Canada's new Air Transat.

And G&M reporting DH4 fleet reducing from 47 to 32-37 and exiting YYZ and YHZ.

The only positive here is we may finally see some E-Jets for long and thin routes going to Encore.
Speedbird84 and Symmetre like this.
YXUFlyboy is online now  
Old Jun 16, 22, 5:08 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: The World
Posts: 1,266
Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy View Post
WestJet - Western Canada's new Air Transat.
Yikes. You might be right.

That's exactly what this new strategy reads like.
FlyerJ is offline  
Old Jun 16, 22, 5:20 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: YYC, Canada
Programs: AC 35k
Posts: 1,768
Originally Posted by FlyerJ View Post
Yikes. You might be right.

That's exactly what this new strategy reads like.
Yup. They are a low-cost, leisure carrier. Full stop. Thank God we have US gateways and YVR, otherwise we'd be stuck routing to YYZ and YUL.
FlyerJ and Speedbird84 like this.
YXUFlyboy is online now  
Old Jun 16, 22, 5:22 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 359
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/busi...ing-airplanes/

Mr. von Hoensbroech said WestJet will fly its existing 787s in the West. The airline will receive 15 new 737s this year, bringing its Max fleet to more than 30. The 47-plane De Havilland Q400 regional fleet that flies in Ontario and Quebec will be reduced by 10 or 15 planes, and will move to Western Canada. The company is also in negotiations for a “substantial” number of narrow-body aircraft, Mr. von Hoensbroech said, declining to elaborate.

WestJet said the network changes announced on Thursday will be implemented by the summer of 2023.
I wonder what's the motivation for making this announcement public. They are preemptively going to lose customers and millions in sales in eastern Canada.

The new CEO is the complete opposite of Ed Sims. Sims strongly indicated support for exercising the 10 787 options, negotiating new capacity purchase agreements out east so presumably they can serve cities like YQG & YSB, emphasized the importance of attracting business customers, and ambitions to have new JVs transatlantic and transpacific after the JV with DL is complete.
On Time Reports is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread