Canadian airline WestJet has strengthened its commitment to the Boeing 737 family with an order today for an additional 42 of its largest variant – the 737 MAX 10. The airline will also have options on a further 22 of the type, potentially giving it a total MAX fleet of 105 airplanes in the future.
Right now, WestJet has a total of 18 MAX aircraft in its fleet, all of the 737 MAX 8 variety. It is anticipating deliveries of a further 23, for a total MAX 8 fleet size of 41. Complementing this is its large fleet of 737 NGs, with 42 -700s and 37 -800s currently operating.
Adding the MAX 10 will give it the largest narrowbody option in its fleet, considerably bigger than anything it is flying on the single-aisle at present. Group CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech commented on the benefits of this larger aircraft type, saying,
“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 flies the 737 MAX 8. Photo: Boeing
WestJet has been a big Boeing operator for all its life, initially launching with just three 737 Classics back in 1996. It has operated many variants of the 737, alongside the 767-300ER and now the 787-9 Dreamliner. Boeing says that the airline currently has a total of 60 firm orders for the MAX family aircraft.
Stan Deal, Boeing’s president and CEO of Commercial Airplanes, noted that the 737 MAX 10 was a great choice for fuel efficiency and high capacity for WestJet, commenting that,
“We are proud that WestJet sees the value of the 737 MAX family and is adding the 737-10 to complement the 737-8 for outstanding capability, flexibility and improved sustainability.”
A change of tune
Back in 2013, WestJet ordered up a total of 65 737 MAX airplanes, valued at $6.3 billion at list prices. The order contained both the MAX 8 and MAX 7, with a split of 40 and 25, respectively. But WestJet has never taken any MAX 7s, and looks like it never will.
Amid the chaos of COVID, in March 2021 WestJet revealed it would cancel its order for 15 737 MAX aircraft, although it did not specify which type. This was understandable, given the ongoing downturn in travel at the time. But things have been picking up for WestJet, and the MAX is proving to be a key part of its strategy this year.
With the MAX 7 disappearing from the order book, it looks like WestJet will go big instead. Photo: Getty Images.
Having become the fifth carrier to resume flights with the MAX back in 2021, it moved into flying the type transatlantic in a big way. For summer 2022, around half of WestJet’s routes to Europe were being operated on the 737 MAX, including four routes from Toronto, four from Calgary, four from Halifax, and one from Vancouver.
The airline operates its MAXs with a two-class configuration, with 162 standard seats in economy and 12 recliner seats in premium. The flight experience is fairly basic compared to its Dreamliner services, given they don’t even have IFE, but are clearly working well for the airline, hence the order for the larger type.
The MAX 10 seats up to 230 passengers with a range of 3,100 NM. No advice has been given on when WestJet will start receiving this new order, but when it does start to arrive, we can expect to see some of these aircraft deployed on WestJet’s most popular transatlantic routes.