The WestJet Group has announced its purchase of 42 Boeing 737-10 Max planes in a deal valued at $5.67 billion.
The purchase, which was on top of an existing order of 23 aircraft, includes the option to add 22 more planes depending on demand.
The airline plans to expand its low-cost offerings, with plans to add routes to sun destinations from cities across Canada.
The order will start delivering at the end of 2024 through to 2028, expanding the fleet by 65 aircraft over six years.
Boeing has a year-end deadline to win regulatory approval for the jet model. Otherwise, it must meet new cockpit alerting requirements under a 2020 law, unless U.S. Congress waives it.
Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun told Aviation Week in July that Boeing could be forced to cancel the MAX 10 over potential regulatory issues.
“WestJet has full confidence in the aircraft and has protection plans in place in the unlikely event of a delay,” the airline boss said, when asked about the MAX 10’s certification prospects this year.
Earlier this month, WestJet said in a press release that it would be suspending several routes to Atlantic Canada, including flights between Halifax and Montreal, as of Oct. 28. Spring flight schedules are not yet available.
WestJet chief commercial officer John Weatherill said the decision was difficult but will help in the long run, as the airline shifts more of its eastern routes to sun and leisure destinations.
However, he said WestJet is not stopping Atlantic flights completely; instead, von Hoensbroech said the airline plans to ramp up its cross-country flights and flights from the East to leisure destinations including the Southern U.S. and the Caribbean.
“What we will do less, is flying within the East,” said von Hoensbroech. “So flights between Montreal and Toronto will decrease but Montreal to Cancun will increase.”
Boeing has booked large orders for the 737 MAX this year, including an order for 100 MAX 10 jets from Delta Air Lines Inc, speeding up the planemaker’s recovery from successive crises caused by the pandemic and two plane crashes.