Canada’s WestJet has unveiled the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which includes a new livery, logo and cabin interior, in an attempt to consolidate the carrier in an increasingly competitive North American market, as well as to compete directly with the leading Canadian airline, Air Canada.
The Dreamliner hopes to leave WestJet’s low-cost image behind in order to challenge Air Canada and American Airlines. The new design, which was created by Ove Brand Design and incorporated by Boeing and Teague, a Seattle design firm, includes an updated font, Bliss, and the Maple Leaf symbol.
"Fittingly, our new Dreamliner is adorned with a new, refined livery. Our WestJet wordmark is presented in a newly stylized font, while the maple leaf on the aircraft tail pays tribute to our Canadian heritage. Our national pride is displayed prominently with Canadian flags and “The Spirit of Canada”—“L’esprit du Canada”—emblazoned on the Dreamliner’s fuselage," the carrier’s website says.
"Drawing from distinctly Canadian themes, the cabin interior welcomes guests with a rich colour palette: a soothing Alpine lake blue in Economy class; aurora-inspired shades and tones in Premium Economy; and in Business Class, luxuriously rich earth tones inspired by the splendour of Canadian summers," the site adds.
The new Dreamliner business class cabin will include Rockwell Collins COL +0.85% Super Diamond seats, which have been customized by PriestmanGoode, London, also responsible for the new interiors. Business class flyers will be afforded digital meal and turn down service in order to convert seats into a flat beds, which will be fitted with luxury bedding.
The WestJet's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner business class cabin is meant to compete with other long-distance carriers. Premium economy will offer Rockwell Collins MiQ seats, also used by American Airlines in its premium economy cabin, and by Air Canada in its premium cabin on its new 737 MAX fleet. A new addition to the premium economy will be a self-service bar.
The economy cabin will feature Recaro CL3710 seats, which have been designed for added comfort on long-haul flights and include adjustable headrests. The seats will also provide next-generation in-flight entertainment and tray-top power outlet access.
According to WestJet President and CEO, Ed Sims, the new design reflects “the dawn of a new era for WestJet and the next step in our transformation to a global network airline.”
WestJet has been redefining their strategy for awhile. In 2015, they introduced transatlantic service to Gatwick and presented a two-class cabin 767-300 aircraft intended to compete with low-cost, long-haul competitor Norwegian. Meanwhile, the carrier introduced a new ultra-low fare brand, Swoop, in 2017. Swoop currently only offers service within Canada.
At the end of this month, WestJet will launch flights from Halifax to Paris. The flights will be offered on the airline’s new 737-8 MAX fleet and offer two service classes.
Despite the advances, WestJet is contending with serious labor issues. One hundred and fifty WestJet pilots, in alignment with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have picketed the company, which puts future flights in jeopardy. Though according to Sims, "WestJet remains focused on working with ALPA on a resolution through the bargaining process, which is scheduled to continue throughout May and June. Our primary focus has remained unchanged — to ensure that we all have a long-term sustainable future, focused on job security for all WestJet employees."