IMO, I think this is a bit fast for an airline with only 15 planes in its fleet! Very likely, this is its long-term goal. The airline has said it has identified 12 destinations in Western Canada to be served by WestJet, but didn't say which.
YEG 757 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2025 times:
I agree the 100 aircraft is probably a long range goal, and that Westjet will probably continue to expand gradually as they have over the past five years. Their firm commitments to new aircraft are for only 30 over the next seven years, after all.
I wonder whether Westjet isn't making these statements about large-scale expansion deliberately as a competitive ploy. The Canadian domestic air travel market is in considerable upheaval right now. Westjet certainly would wish to discourage any new startups from following their example of exploiting underserved market niches (e.g. Abbotsford, Kelowna, Victoria before Westjet moved in). By creating the perception that they may expand anywhere at any time, Westjet's strategy perhaps is to force potential new startups to think twice before committing capital to what would otherwise be virgin territory.
Boeing 777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2013 times:
Just a little typo...Where it says "We do very well into Grand Prairie which is a town of 15,000." - GP is actually a city of 36,000 residents, otherwise WestJet wouldn't have looked at starting service there right away! Grande Prairie(The "e" at the end of "Grande" is correct-just look at any map of Alberta or Canada!) also has an regional area population of about 60,000-75,000, and a rapidly expanding oil and natural gas-based economy, making it all the more attractive to WestJet as a market.
Sorry about this, but I'm fiercely proud of this part of Canada where I was born and raised! I still have family and very close friends(since childhood) there. And I do remember how CPAir used to have jet service to this Northern Alberta city with 737-200s until about 1982-83!
Ywg777 From Canada, joined Oct 1999, 1264 posts, RR: 1 Reply 5, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1990 times:
Westjet will succeed. There is only 1 problem that is brought to my attention. Does everbody know westjets eastern hub YHM(Hamilton) does not even have a jetway attached to their terminal. The terminal is only 1 level. I think WJ should add a another hub city like YVR,or YWG. Both can accomidate WJ services. I also forgot about YEG when the expansion is done.
Airliners rule From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1979 times:
Dont bash yhm they deserve this more than any other airports in Canada I hate to tell you I live in hamilton and ever scince they came YHM hasnt looked the same I do agree they do need jet walks but you only take like 30 steps from the plane to the terminal and if the weather is bad they have a tunnel that come out of the side of the building which is pretty much a jetway but at ground level. And wouldnt you rather get a quick breath of fresh air after being on a plane? well dont bash it because if will kick any airports a** in Canada for cargo its the biggest.
Ywg777 From Canada, joined Oct 1999, 1264 posts, RR: 1 Reply 7, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 1975 times:
Okay I wont bash it. I just wish they had jetways like every other airport in the country. Also are there any plans? Yes YHM has the largest cargo operations in the country. I will agree with you on that.
Airliners rule From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1973 times:
Thanks Bush and I think they will expand the terminal soon and add jetways. Atleast I hope especially if Westjet gets there 100 aircraft and if Air Canadas discount airline comes and Hamilton Airlines they will need them where is a link of what YHM might look like in 10 years from the unofficial website and here is one of what it looks like now for thoes of you who are not firmilyar
Boeing 777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1961 times:
Yep, quite a few of these 737-200s do have built-in airstairs. Oddly enough, WestJet doesn't use them very much, or not even at all, even in Grande Prairie, where they still have those stairs on wheels that you just move up to the plane's doors. But I do remember when CPAir and PWA had their 737s, they did indeed use them quite a bit, especially in smaller northern airports.
AC183 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 1532 posts, RR: 2 Reply 12, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1963 times:
Well, to go back to WJ expansion issues, I think it is possible that WestJet is trying to keep anyone else from trying to get routes set up before WJ gets to go in. I don't think there is any doubt that there is a void in eastern markets that WJ is trying to quickly move into to ensure they get a share of them, and it obviously will take time for them to develop even a skeleton schedule in the east. I also think WJ has a lot of loose ends in the west that are at risk, as the cut in AC/CP capacity and the availiability of more eastbound destinations will mean WJ won't be able to grow western capacity as quickly as demand warrants, and they're kind of leaving themselves possibly vulnerable in the west if they don't keep on their guard.
A couple of things about WJ expansion. First of all, I wouldn't be surprised if WJ was flying around 50 aircraft with 3 years or so. I don't think they'll end up retiring the -200 aircraft very quickly because of their rapid growth. More likely I think they'll be looking to quickly move into a few other major centres like St. John's, and Quebec CIty and then will start moving into some very underserved regional centres like Windsor and London in Ontario. I also foresee them using some -200 aircraft kept on instead of retiring them to have a smaller level of expansion in the west to fill in some gaps in their route structure, and to add frequencies. I do not, however, see WJ going into a hub and spoke mentality, despite whatever YWG777 wishes for.
Now about YHM. It's a good alternate to YYZ, and undoubtably will grow. And that's a good thing, there's a lot of people in the Hamilton area who haven't had much air service since Nordair was sold to CPAir. I think it may just be a matter of time until a charter flies some longer hops, but don't mistake it's development as being the next Pearson. I think it will become a very respectably sized alternate airport not unlike Midway in Chicago.
Boeing 777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 14, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1962 times:
About the -200s being kept on - yes, you're probably right some may still be kept on certain routes as WestJet expands its fleet and route network, but if the high fuel and oil prices stick around, their retirements will likely be hastened. Fuel prices are indeed causing fares to rise everywhere - and travelers want to see more discount fares. And I think WJ would want to be careful in balancing its books if it is to continue as a viable airline. Especially when it's just made a large order for those 737-700s. AC183, at least a few of these 737-200s are at least 30 years old and are fuel guzzlers compared to their NG siblings! Not to mention that they are maintenance pigs - maintenance costs will get higher as 737-200 spare parts become increasingly rare and those planes age.
Nevertheless, that doesn't mean WestJet was making a bad choice in acquiring secondhand -200s in the first place. These planes were bought for only $2-3 million apiece, while a 737-500 or a -600 would've cost ten times as much. Actually it's a very smart strategy for a discount airline! Clive Beddoe and Stephen Smith sure knew what they were doing. That way fares can stay low and WestJet doesn't have to worry about debt as much.
YHM is an excellent choice as an alternative - WestJet made that choice for this reason. I'm sure that if AC were to develop a discount carrier as planned in the future, it'll probably go there. And it's not that likely WJ will go into YUL(Dorval) if it should choose to serve Montreal - it'll more likely look at St-Hubert, if negotiations succeed. Mirabel's a little far out, but WJ is certainly looking at it as a Montreal-area airport to serve. Hubs and spokes? Not likely, as WestJet looks to serve smaller and underserved airports in Canada and bypass hubs. Cars are what WestJet's competing against. But so are regional carriers, with their generally higher fares and mainly prop-based fleets.
Airliners rule From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 16, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1957 times:
I personally dont see halifax for a while scince they have decided to go into moncton. At one time they where talking about going into halifax but I havent seen that scince moncton was decided. Also to ac183 I could,nt agree more with you about YHM. I live in hamilton and I more than most people I know are always checking up on it I have been visiting there ever scince I was a kid and and its really come along scince then especially with cargo. I hope to see Air Canadas discount start up.
AC183 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 1532 posts, RR: 2 Reply 17, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1947 times:
I am inclined to think oil prices will come down to the $20-25 range sometime, maybe not for a year but I don't think they'll stay aloft forever, it's just a hunch but I can remember when wheat prices were up about three years ago and now they're way way down, and I believe nickel is down from it's high too, so I see oil as being pretty cyclical in nature with other commodities and likely to at least come down a bit. But who knows. And the 737-200's are fuel guzzlers.
Now as far as the -200's go, I believe there are a few that were built in the '69 or so, actually I think they already replaced a '67 built aircraft. But yes, they are getting old. And I think they'll be replacing a few of the oldest ones, but WJ is expanding pretty rapidly and those new aircraft are rather pricey. I personally believe WJ will keep on most of its mid to late '70's vintage -200 aircraft, and relegate them to regional type routes, maybe to developing some new routes in the west. I could see WJ relegating the -200's to some smaller places and running new aircraft on trunk routes.
As far as -200 maintenance, there's no doubt that they take more work to keep flying, but I wouldn't call them a maintenance pig. Parts are fairly readily availiable, and not too expensive, and putting more labour into the aircraft is cheaper than buying new aircraft, especially for an airline expanding as rapidly as WJ. But who knows, alot of the -200's are about the same age as AC's DC-9's, and I just finished taking someone to the airport for AC171 YWG-YEG, and the plane went mechanical for a 3 hour 57 minute delay, so I hope AC looks for DC-9 replacements and comparing the 9's to WJ's 737-200's, well, maybe the same does go for WJ.
Actually, however, I wouldn't be surprised if WJ picked up a few -200 aircraft from CP when they start retiring them, they have early 80's vintage planes which are a little newer and would give WJ a real boost in growth, as they do need the planes.
For interest's sake, the banner from the Boeing Winnipeg plant for WJ is hanging at WestJet's YWG check-in counters now.
Also, when I read the article in the Wpg Free Press and Mr. Smith said they'd been successful with Brandon, I was wondering if anyone else got the impression he was hinting WJ was considering returning for another trial run there, or adding it permanently. I thought it was rather interesting that he'd mention that run. Maybe when they get the 737NG deliveries they'll have the aircraft to do that. In the mean time I think they should look at extending Moncton flights to St. John's to cover the transcon network, and fill in Montreal and Ottawa, and getting into Windsor should probably be a priority too, in my view.
Airliners rule From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 18, posted (13 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 1943 times:
OK with all this talk about westjet expanding western routes what cities besides Hamilton, Moncton, Ottawa And Montreal. Which other Eastern Cities could they fly to I think Windsor or London, Halifax, St. Johns Quebec City, and would they all fly into the eastern hub or would they go direct I think they should go into the Hub in case extra passengers want to get on the flight. I cant remember who said it but I agree with them saying that YHM could eventually be similar to Chicagos Mid-Way.