WestJet's First 'Digital Day' Targets New Strategy to Offer Better Service and Keep Costs Down

WestJet team members and the company's global digital partners met on 22NOV at WestJet’s campus for the airline’s first ever ‘Digital Day’.

Created by Christian Novosel, WestJet’s Chief Digital Officer, Digital Day presented a forum to showcase digital solutions that hold the potential to achieving WestJet’s recently announced re-imagined strategy.

Following the pandemic, the travel and tourism ecosystem has significantly evolved, with rapidly increasing inflation and fuel costs posing additional challenges. WestJet’s re-imagined strategy will feature rapid digitization to help maintain the airline’s original low-cost identity in the face of these challenges.

WestJet Digital Day
Christian Novosel, WestJet's Chief Digital Officer

“As WestJet hones in on a focused network and strategy, an unrelenting low-cost commitment and a superior guest experience, rapid digitization is critical,” said Novosel who joined the airline in August of 2022.

“Digital Day is first and foremost about our people and our guests and creating operational efficiencies, automated processes and resilience, where required, so WestJetters can prioritize high-value work and deliver value to our guests throughout their journey with us.”

“WestJet, and the world around us, continues to be increasingly complex; rapid digitization holds the key to our success. As an organization we are already quite digitally literate, with a strong foundation, roadmap and digitally enabling governance. By 2025, it is our ambition to become a digital performer, empowering our people to focus on the most meaningful work and using key digital capabilities and data informed process to build resilience as an organization, improve our guest experience and drive down unnecessary costs,” continued Novosel.

While speaking to more than 700 WestJetters and partners who attended Digital Day, Novosel emphasized that rapid digitization is fundamentally about WestJet’s people and guests. Upon joining the company in August, his first priority was to hear directly from WestJetters about what challenges existed and how digitization could remove obstacles with the ultimate goal of improving efficiencies, reducing manual processes and effectively improving the everyday experience for WestJet employees.

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“WestJet is at a pivotal moment and Digital Day is the beginning of a long, but exciting journey where our airline will marry our people first, caring identity with innovation, digitization and our treasure box of data, to secure a future that fundamentally supports our guests and people and optimizes every facet of our organization,” he continued.

WestJet Digital Day
From Left: Derek Teterenko, WestJet, Interim Vice-President, Commercial Tech Solutions, Gandeephan Ganeshalingam, WestJet, Vice-President, Technical Operations, Colleen Tynan, WestJet, Vice-President, Airports, Christian Novosel, WestJet, Chief Digital Officer

WestJet announces partnership with Plug and Play

In conjunction with Digital Day, WestJet launched a partnership with Plug & Play, which will leverage the Silicon Valley-based company’s Travel and Hospitality program to enable artificial intelligence and machine learning across the airline’s business.

Plug and Play runs accelerator programs in over 20 industries worldwide. WestJet will join alongside more than 30 partners in the Travel and Hospitality program and in Alberta’s Sector Agnostic AI/ML program that launched in early 2022. Throughout the programs, WestJet will work one-on-one with entrepreneurs and provide mentorship, business development, and potential funding to the startups.

“Plug and Play is excited to partner with WestJet in both our Silicon Valley and Alberta, Canada programs. By leveraging our global reach, we aim to engage the best startups from around the world, and in our own Albertan backyard, to provide innovative solutions that can be leveraged by Westjet.” said Kevin Dahl, Director of Plug and Play Alberta.

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