The second largest airline in Canada has just ordered aircraft.

WestJet orders up to 64 Boeing 737 MAX 10s

Up to 64 additional Boeing aircraft will be purchased by WestJet. There is an order for 42 of the jets and options for 22 more. The plan for fleet growth has been extended all the way to the year 2028.

WestJet has a fleet of over 100 aircraft, including over 100 Boeing 737 family aircraft, plus seven Boeing 787s. In addition to the ones that have already joined the fleet, the airline already had 23 Boeing737 MAXs on order, as well as this new order. The only aircraft that WestJet has is a Boeing plane.

The Boeing MAX 10 is the biggest variant of the family. The plane can seat up to 230 people in a single class configuration. Boeing has threatened to cancel the jet if approval isn't forthcoming, because the plane still hasn't been certified.

This is what the CEO of WestJet had to say.

“With this additional order, the WestJet Group will accept delivery of no fewer than 65 aircraft in the next six years, at least 50 will be 737-10 aircraft, furthering our commitment to affordable travel options for Canadians and jobs for our company and the aerospace industry. WestJet’s expansion plans are rooted in an enhanced presence in Western Canada and a growth strategy in eastern Canadian communities through increased transcontinental flights and more direct routes to sun and leisure destinations. This will be further strengthened once our Sunwing transaction has been approved.”

“The 737-10 will be a game changer, with one of the lowest costs per seat among mid-range aircraft. This will foster our low-cost positioning and affordability for Canadians. In addition, with its lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions, the 737-10 will further improve the environmental footprint of our fleet.”

WestJet already has some Boeing 737 MAXs in its fleet

My take on WestJet’s aircraft order

We knew that the airline was going to place an order for planes soon, so we were not surprised to see them pick up more planes. I think we all expected that WestJet would keep going with the MAX.

The low per-seat cost of the MAX 10 makes it a good plane to increase capacity. WestJet is buying a product that Boeing may or may not be able to sell due to the fact that the plane still isn't certified.

I don't know if it's because I'm confused or if it's because they're an airline. I think of WestJet as a Canadian airline. I think the airline is pleasant to fly with, but I don't think the company has a cohesive strategy.

  • WestJet is adding 10 Boeing 787-9s to its fleet, but hasn’t announced long haul expansion beyond that; it seems like the airline is dipping its toes into long haul service, without fully committing to it, which doesn’t seem like a recipe for success
  • Competition in the Canadian airline industry is really heating up, between several new ultra low cost carriers launching, plus Porter Airlines expanding beyond Billy Bishop Airport
  • WestJet seems to just kind of be doing a little bit of everything, and I’m not sure that’s a great strategy

Air Canada will get some country-wide competition from a non-ultra low cost carrier if WestJet continues to grow.

What’s WestJet’s plan with long haul service?

Bottom line

The airline has placed an order for up to 64 additional planes. There are 44 firm orders, plus 22 options, and it adds to the existing Boeing order. I don't think anyone will be surprised by this order.

I want to see the airline industry in Canada continue to evolve.

What do you think about the order from WestJet.