A First Look at WestJet’s Dreamliner, Featuring Lie-Flat Business Class and New Livery

May 8, 2018

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WestJet shared plans for its new Dreamliners that it’s set to take delivery of between 2019 and 2021. For the Canadian low-cost carrier, the 10 787-9s mark a new era, as it’ll introduce its first-ever business-class cabin, as well as a new livery.

On Tuesday’s unveiling, WestJet released renderings of the aircraft, and it’s a fresh look for the carrier. First, on the interior of the aircraft, passengers can expect a three-cabin configuration — business class, premium economy and economy.

The business-class cabin is composed of 16 lie-flat seats in a preferable 1-2-1 configuration, offering every passenger direct aisle access. Given that this is the carrier’s first-ever business class product, it will likely be branded more in the coming months.

The configuration is impressive from WestJet, especially considering other carriers such as United opted for a 2-2-2 configuration on its Dreamliners.

Seats in the business-class cabin will feature touchscreen in-flight entertainment systems.

When you’re ready to move the seat to its lie-flat position, WestJet says there will be a turndown service offered.

Next up is premium economy. WestJet’s 789s will be equipped with 28 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. TPG has yet to hear back from WestJet regarding seat pitch and width for all three cabins.

Each seat will get its own touchscreen seat-back entertainment system, as well as foot rests and power outlets.

According to a press release, WestJet says there will be a “self-serve social area” in the cabin so passengers have more room to roam about the cabin. The social area will be located behind the premium economy cabin, separating it from the economy cabin.

Finally, the WestJet 789 economy cabin rendering shows 84 seats arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration. (The final product will likely have more seats than the rendering shows.)

Each seat-back will offer a large touchscreen in-flight entertainment system, and each passenger will get their own charging port.

Throughout the entire aircraft, WestJet said that it took inspiration from the Canadian landscape to design the interior. In business class, you’ll find richer, earth-toned colors, inspired by Canadian summers. In premium economy, you’ll find Northern Lights-inspired colors, and in economy you’ll find a lighter blue, inspired by lake water.

Moving to the exterior of the aircraft, you’ll find a new, more modern livery for the carrier. WestJet said that its new paint job still retains its Maple Leaf symbol but with a “more contemporary and bold look.” As the airline will likely take this aircraft on longer-haul international routes, the carrier is playing up its Canadian origin. Not only will the Canadian flag be prominently placed at the front of the fuselage, but WestJet will paint its motto “The Spirit of Canada” on one side of the aircraft, while its French translation “L’esprit du Canada” will appear on the other side.

Going forward, as new aircraft — including but not limited to its new 789s — are delivered to WestJet beginning in 2018, they will feature the new livery. As aircraft go through their normal repainting cycle, they will be done with the new livery. According to a press release, the first aircraft to show this new paint job will be one of the carrier’s Boeing 737 MAX 8s, which it will take delivery of in June.

WestJet expects to take delivery of its first Dreamliner in early 2019. In total, the carrier has 10 of the 789s on order, as well as options for an additional 10. Up until it takes delivery of these Dreamliners, the low-cost carrier has operated a fleet mostly composed of Boeing 737s — including the 737 MAX. It also has several Boeing 767s that it leases, which it uses on its long-haul routes to London (LGW) and Honolulu (HNL), as well as its seasonal destinations of Dublin (DUB) and Glasgow (GLA).

With the addition of the Dreamliner to its fleet, WestJet is planning to become more competitive in the international market. When the carrier first announced its order of the Dreamliners in May 2017, it said they would be used to “serve new destinations in Asia and South America,” as well as expanding “its service offerings into the European market.” As reported by Bloomberg in February 2018, WestJet applied for permission to fly to China and Japan. At this time, there have yet to be any specific routes or pricing information announced.

WestJet CEO Ed Sims said he wants to keep the airline’s low-cost ways, but also place a focus on its premium cabin travelers in its new business class. Beginning in June, WestJet will launch a new low-cost carrier, Swoop, which WestJet expects to appease its customer base looking for low fares while WestJet forays into more premium offerings — such as the business-class cabin on these new Dreamliners. Sims did say that he doesn’t expect Swoop to be able to handle the entire demand of low-cost travelers, and WestJet will continue doing that, especially given its basic economy fare offering.

All images by WestJet.

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