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Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet has announced that it is “in advanced stages of sourcing” wide-body aircraft.
The airline currently operates a Southwest Airlines-style model with a fleet of identical Boeing 737 aircraft.
WestJet plans to use its new wide-body aircraft for its winter service between Alberta and Hawaii, which are presently flown by two Boeing 757-200s, operated by Thomas Cook under an agreement which ends in the spring of 2015. WestJet plans to begin service with four wide-body aircraft to be deployed on routes in between Alberta and Hawaii in the winter season of 2015.
“This is the natural, next-step evolution for WestJet,” said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. “It’s made possible by our low-cost business model, growing network strength, airline partnerships and our award-winning brand driven by the efforts of our more than 10,000 WestJetters from coast to coast.”
In its announcement, the carrier indicates that it “has received the support of the WestJet Pilot Association and its Board of Directors, and is currently in the advanced stages of sourcing wide-body aircraft.”
The airline also reported June load factors of 77.4% and YTD load factors of 81.4%, carrying 4.8 million passengers in the second quarter of 2014. Founded in 2013, WestJet celebrated its first full year of operations this June 24.
WestJet also plans to announce more details on its wide-body schedule for the 2016 summer season at a later date, and expresses intentions “to expand its operation into overseas markets.”