WestJet announced (11-Oct-2012) it has named its upcoming regional start-up WestJet Encore following a vote to rename the carrier. The carrier plans to launch in 2H2013 with Bombardier Q400 equipment. WestJet EVP- sales, marketing and guest experience Bob Cummings said, "We are excited to launch WestJet Encore, leveraging the phenomenal strength of the WestJet brand delivered through our WestJetters. Encore reinforces that our WestJetters are ready to repeat the success of WestJet, liberating Canadians in many communities from the high cost of travel." [more - original PR]
WestJet names new regional carrier ‘WestJet Encore’
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WestJet prepares to lock in unit revenue growth to outpace cost inflation in 2017
Canada’s second largest airline WestJet believes it can attain a positive unit revenue result in 1Q2017, joining many other North American airlines in outlining specific timeframes for the reversal of negative trends. Unlike performance of most airlines in the region that are predicting sequential improvements from 3Q2016 to 4Q2016, WestJet’s performance will worsen during the last three months of 2016. The factors driving WestJet’s deeper unit revenue decreases include timing of the year-end holidays, competitive capacity pressure in warm weather markets, and fare matching of the start-up competitor ULCC NewLeaf.
Although WestJet believes it will make an important turn in its unit revenue performance in early 2017, it faces some cost inflation for the full year as it adds a larger number of smaller Bombardier Q400 turboprops, which have higher operating costs but in fact also help drive bottom line profitability. Although at this point WestJet cannot forecast its unit revenue performance for FY2017, its goal is to post unit revenue growth that outpaces unit cost increases.
Bombardier C Series: record orders in 2016 as both variants finally enter service
The first commercial flight of the Bombardier CS300 on 14-Dec-2016, operated by airBaltic from Riga to Amsterdam, will be a major milestone for the Canadian manufacturer's new C Series aircraft programme. Three CS100 aircraft are already in service with SWISS, so the airBaltic flight will mean that both variants of the C Series are finally in commercial operation.
The programme is Bombardier's first wholly new aircraft development, aimed at the 100 to 150-seat market segment and offering advantages of fuel efficiency, cabin space, noise and emissions. Bombardier once targeted 2013 for entry into service, but has been dogged by problems and delays. In 2015, Bombardier seemed to have overstretched itself. The C Series received no new orders during the year and Bombardier was forced to seek investment from the Province of Québec to rescue the programme.
In 2016 the company has recovered to win a net 117 new orders, its highest annual total, bringing the programme total to 360. However, competition is cut-throat, with Airbus, Boeing and Embraer all having new developments of existing products in the same space as the C Series. Bombardier's breakthrough orders from Air Canada and Delta in 2016 required heavy price discounts.