In February 1996, WestJet, a small regional airline, began offering low cost flights in Western Canada aboard a 737-200. In 2023, WestJet is the second largest Canadian air carrier, providing domestic and international flights on their modern, all-Boeing fleet. Read about WestJet and C-GTWS, a Boeing 737-7NG, then add some Boeing 737 Next Generation PlaneTags to your collection.
WestJet was founded on June 27, 1994 when a group of partners, David Neeleman, Clive Beddoe, Mark Hill, Tim Morgan, and Donald Bell, endeavored to create a low-cost alternative to Canada’s established carriers. Operations began February 29, 1996 with three used planes, five destinations in Western Canada, and 225 employees - known as WestJetters. Its inaugural flight took place on a Boeing 737-200, from its home base in Calgary to Vancouver, British Columbia and Edmonton, Alberta.
With the aim of providing safe, friendly and affordable air travel, WestJet made great strides with travelers in a short time. They experienced significant growth and expanded its route network to cover destinations across Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, and in 2023, Tokyo.
Let's look at just a few of the highlights over the past 27 years.
Over the years WestJet has primarily operated Boeing 737 aircraft, including the 737-200, 737-600, 737-700, 737-800, and Boeing 737 Max 8. WestJet's decision to primarily use the Boeing 737 aircraft for its fleet was influenced by several factors, including operational efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and a focus on maintaining a consistent and standardized fleet. Here are some reasons why WestJet chose to operate a fleet composed mainly of Boeing 737 aircraft:
The Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG) is the third major series of the Boeing 737 family of narrow-body airliners, succeeding the Classic series (737-300/-400/-500) and preceding the Boeing 737 MAX series. The NG series was developed as an improved and updated version of the Classic series, with enhanced performance, increased range, and improved fuel efficiency.
The Boeing 737 NG program was launched in 1993 as a response to increasing competition from other manufacturers and changing market demands. The NG series includes three primary variants: the 737-600, 737-700, and 737-800.
737-600: The 737-600 was the smallest variant of the NG series, designed to seat between 110 and 132 passengers. It was introduced in 1995 and aimed to compete with regional jets and other small airliners. 69 units were produced, with the final 737-600 delivered to WestJet in 2006. WestJet took delivery of 13 -600’s over the years, all of which are retired.
737-700: The 737-700, launched in 1993, became a popular choice for airlines seeking a versatile and efficient aircraft for both short and medium-haul routes. It can typically seat around 126 to 149 passengers, depending on the configuration. WestJet still operates several -700s on North American routes.
737-800: Introduced in 1994, the 737-800 is a stretched version of the 737-700, with increased passenger capacity and extended range. It typically seats around 162 to 189 passengers, making it suitable for a wide range of routes. WestJet operates many -800s, and has shifted some of its fleet to its low-cost subsidiary Swoop before the pandemic.
The 737 NG series brought several key improvements over its predecessor, the Classic series:
The Boeing 737 NG series proved to be highly successful in the commercial aviation market, with many airlines around the world adopting it for their fleets. The range of sizes and capabilities offered by the different variants made the NG series suitable for a wide range of routes, from short regional flights to longer transcontinental journeys.
C-GTWS was built as a Boeing 737-76N and was delivered to WestJet in July 2002. At this time, the airline employed 3,100 WestJetters and flew over 5.8 million travelers throughout its 21 Western Canadian destinations. C-GTWS retired in April 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, and found itself stored at Marana Pinal Airpark in July 2022.
"What a cool plane to create PlaneTags out of," MotoArt PlaneTags owner Dave Hall thought when he found C-GTWS in Arizona. "We get so many collectors and enthusiasts asking us for either a WestJet aircraft or a Next Gen plane. It's great being able to tell the story of WestJet's Boeing fleet with this 737-700."
These photos are from Hall and the team:
The WestJet Boeing 737 PlaneTags are numbered in a series of 7,500 and will initially be available in the following colors:
Don’t miss the first of our Boeing Next Generation PlaneTags for your collection. Whether you have flown on C-GTWS, or enjoyed seeing WestJet soar across your sky, or you love the Boeing 737, grab one when they go on sale Thursday, August 17, 2023 at planetags.com.
It’s been 55 years since the Boeing 737 took to the sky with Lufthansa in 1968. Airlines embraced the type for their medium-haul flights. Here are some of the Boeing 737 PlaneTags that have been released in the past.