In news WestJet is calling "historic," and "first of is kind," the Calgary-based airline has doubled down on its previously-announced strategy to focus on Western Canada, announcing a new partnership with the Government of Alberta to designate YYC as its global hub.
WestJet will concentrate its entire fleet of 787 intercontinental Dreamliners to fly to YYC, and double its capacity at the Calgary airport before the end of the decade, "with an asset value in excess of seven billion dollars." According to the company, the move will enable it to establish new routes within North America, to Europe, with the potential to reach Asia. Alongside the 787s, WestJet says it will grow its mid-range fleet and strengthen its North American offerings.
The partnership with the province focuses on "significantly advancing aviation across the province in support of a stronger economy and a long-lasting, sustainable future for Alberta’s aviation sector."
“Alberta has been WestJet’s home for 26 years and today’s historic agreement builds upon an existing foundation of low taxes and investment-friendly policies. As Western Canada’s home team carrier, Alberta is an area where we want to continue to invest to secure WestJet’s thriving future,” said Alexis von Hoensbroech, Chief Executive Officer, the WestJet Group.
“Through the pandemic and onward, the Government of Alberta prioritized the importance and advancement of aviation and the visitor economy across the province and recognized that aviation is central to the economic diversification of Alberta.”
The agreement between the airline and the Government of Alberta will see the government invest in developing Alberta’s aviation sector.
“This is a blockbuster day for Alberta and a game-changer for our economy. Diversification and economic development are happening right here in Alberta,” said the Honourable Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta. “By choosing Calgary as its single global hub, locating its entire Dreamliner fleet here, and increasing its annual seat capacity by 80 per cent, WestJet will massively improve global connectivity, tourism and options for passengers.”
“Today is a proud day for our organization as we continue to strengthen our home province with four distinct advantages: affordability, sustainability, infrastructure and people,” continued von Hoensbroech. “This agreement is a testament to WestJet’s commitment to our global hub airport in Calgary, as investments like this can only occur under the right commercial and operational environments. YYC Calgary International Airport is providing us that confidence and with these investments, Calgary can become North America’s most connected mid-sized city.”
- Provide Travel Alberta with additional funding in support of travel and tourism efforts
- Work to address the challenges associated with high aviation fuel prices for air passengers and industry
- Advance Alberta’s status as a global aviation hub by enabling more to and from flights and more connecting passengers
- Improve access to pilot training with investment and expansion of the Mount Royal University pilot training program
- Collaboration to ensure pilots are trained in Alberta with the appropriate technology and partnerships
- Potential development of advanced commercial aviation training programs for aviation-related specialties, including a potential degree program
- Funding of an annual hiring training grant to ensure support for training and other associated costs
- Commitment to the development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) capacity at scale in Alberta as central to economic diversification and reducing carbon emissions from aviation
- Commitment to assist WestJet in improving its own technology and software in support of a low-carbon future
- Government of Alberta and the WestJet Group to seek opportunities to enable growth through strategic public and private investments that support aerospace and aviation sector needs
"It’s an exciting day for YYC and Alberta. WestJet’s decision to make YYC its single global hub demonstrates confidence in the Calgary airport and solidifies a major investment in the region and Alberta," said Bob Sartor, President and CEO, of The Calgary Airport Authority.
"We are firmly committed to ensuring our hub carrier and strategic airline partner has the commercial and operational environment it needs to continue growing its business with YYC. We welcome the support for the future investment in the Alberta and Calgary air transportation sector announced today by WestJet and the Government of Alberta.”