WestJet has officially unveiled its first Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, one of 50 scheduled for delivery in the next four years.
The unveiling took place Wednesday, October 11th in Calgary. The aircraft is expected to officially enter service on November 9, 2017, when it operates from Calgary to Toronto.
“We are proud to make history as the first Canadian airline to receive the Boeing 737 MAX,” said Ed Sims, WestJet executive vice-president, Commercial. “The MAX’s design updates, including Boeing’s Advanced Technology winglets and the Boeing Sky Interior, will contribute to improvements in fuel efficiency and overall guest experience.”
“We worked closely with WestJet to make sure the 737 MAX raises the bar when it comes to efficiency, reliability and the passenger experience,” said Brad McMullen, Boeing’s vice-president of sales for the Americas. “This is a great airplane for a great customer, and we’re excited to see WestJet put the MAX into service.”
The aircraft, which has been at WestJet’s Calgary hangar since September 29 for inspections, training and test flights, is the first of 50 Boeing 737 Max scheduled to be delivered through 2027.
The Boeing 737 MAX is powered by CFM International’s LEAP-1B engines, designed for fuel efficiency and noise reduction. Overall, the aircraft is 14 per cent more fuel-efficient than current 737 Next-Generations and has a reduced operational noise footprint of up to 40 per cent through quiet-engine technology.
WestJet’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft feature a single cabin with 174 seats. Its seating configuration consists of three rows of Plus in addition to 11 more rows with a seat pitch of 34 inches. The aircraft comes with Boeing’s new Sky Interior which has features such as customizable LED lighting and new speakers to improve sound and clarity of on-board announcements.
WestJet’s current fleet consists of 117 Boeing Next-Generation 737s, four Boeing 767s and 42 Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft. WestJet has also entered into a definitive purchase agreement for 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with the first aircraft expected to be delivered in January 2019. The carrier has one of the youngest fleets in the airline industry.