August 17, 2023

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: A History

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. 


Canadian airlines planetags

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. 

WestJet Milestones Over The Years



Let's look at just a few of the highlights over the past 27 years.


  • 1998: Within two years of beginning, WestJet served more than three million guests.
  • 1999: WestJet became a publicly traded company on July 13, 1999, on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WJA.
  • 2000: Established an eastern hub in Hamilton and added new Canadian destinations in Ottawa and Moncton.
  • 2004: WestJet introduced routes to various U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Phoenix, Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale. 
  • 2005: Retired its 737-200 s, making WestJet one of North America’s most modern fleets. 
  • 2006: Celebrated 10 years of service and welcomed 11.2 million guests that year alone. They also introduced their first international destination - the Bahamas.
  • 2011: Began partnership with Delta Air Lines to provide additional destinations under an extensive code-share relationship. 
  • 2012: Took delivery of their 100th Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft, and began offering affordable service in a fleet of Bombardier Q400 NG through WestJet Encore. 
  • 2014: WestJet celebrated its first transatlantic flight with seasonal, non-stop service to Dublin, Ireland.
  • 2015: The first of four Boeing 767 s joined the fleet. 
  • 2016: WestJet celebrates twenty years of service, and introduced its first wide-body transatlantic service to London. 
  • 2017: The first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft joins WestJet's fleet, making them the first Canadian airline to receive the 737 Max 8.
  • 2018: Unveiled the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner , sporting a new livery and company logo. They also began flights to Paris. Dreamliner flights between Calgary and London Gatwick began a year later. 
  • 2021: Celebrated 25 years of service, flying 180 aircraft to 100+ destinations in 23 countries, serving over 300 million passengers. 
  • 2023: Announced non-stop flights from Calgary to Tokyo. 

WestJet Calgary HQ

WestJet's headquarters in Calgary, Alberta


Why Did WestJet Choose The 737?

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:

  WestJet fleet

WestJet planes grounding at YEG airport because of COVID-19 impact
By Khoshhat - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link


  1. Economies of Scale: By operating a single aircraft type, WestJet was able to streamline maintenance, training, and operational processes since all staff and crews would be familiar with the same aircraft type, saving money and increasing operational efficiency.
  1. Simplified Maintenance and Training: A homogeneous fleet simplifies maintenance procedures, spare parts inventory, and training requirements for pilots and maintenance technicians, reducing costs and turnaround times for maintenance tasks.
  1. Cost Efficiency: The Boeing 737 is known for its fuel efficiency and operational reliability. By using a single aircraft type, WestJet optimized its operations, maintenance, and fuel consumption strategies, resulting in potential cost savings over a mixed-fleet approach.
  1. Network Flexibility: The Boeing 737's range and capabilities made it suitable for WestJet's network, which primarily focused on short to medium-haul routes, providing the flexibility to operate on various routes while maintaining a consistent fleet.
  1. Passenger Experience: A standardized fleet offers passengers a consistent experience in terms of cabin layout, seating configuration, and amenities, contributing to brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.
  1. Pilot Transition: Having a single aircraft type simplifies pilot training and transition between different aircraft models, allowing pilots to move from one Boeing 737 variant to another, reducing the time and cost associated with transitioning to a new aircraft type.
  1. Negotiating Power: Operating a large fleet of a single aircraft type can give an airline more negotiating power when dealing with aircraft manufacturers for purchasing new aircraft or negotiating maintenance contracts.

Boeing 737 Next Generation

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. 


WestJet C-GTWS


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:

  • Wing Design: The NG series featured new and improved wings, with advanced aerodynamics and higher aspect ratio. These wings contributed to improved fuel efficiency and overall performance.
  • Engines: The NG series was powered by more advanced and fuel-efficient engines compared to the Classic series. The CFM International CFM56-7 engines were the primary powerplants for the NG series, providing increased thrust and efficiency.
  • Avionics and Cockpit: The NG series incorporated modern avionics, including digital displays and systems, enhancing the cockpit environment for pilots. This allowed for better situational awareness and more efficient operations.
  • Range and Efficiency: The NG series offered increased range and fuel efficiency, allowing airlines to operate the aircraft on longer routes while maintaining competitive operating costs.

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.


Boeing 737-7NG At A Glance

WestJet 737-7NG


  • Manufacturer: Boeing
  • Tail #: C-GTWS
  • Crew: 5 (Two Pilots & Three Flight Attendants)
  • Passengers: 130
  • Wing Span: 117 Ft 5 IN
  • Length: 110 Ft 4 IN
  • Height: 24 Ft 6 IN


  • Range: 3,302 NM
  • Cruise Speed: 460 KTS
  • Ceiling: 41,000 FT
  • Empty Weight: 83,000 LB
  • Max Takeoff Weight: 154,498 LB
  • Rate Of Climb: 3,000 FT/MIN
  • Engine: 2x CMFI CFM56-7B22





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.


WestJet 737 Boneyard

"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:


WestJet 737


WestJet 737-7NG


WestJet 737 Next Gen


WestJet aviation collectible


WestJet PlaneTags


WestJet 737 luggage tags




WestJet PlaneTags

WestJet 737 PlaneTags


The WestJet Boeing 737 PlaneTags are numbered in a series of 7,500 and will initially be available in the following colors:

  • Teal
  • Teal/White
  • Teal Composite Honeycomb
  • Blue
  • Blue/White
  • Red/White Flag
  • Gray/White




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

737 PlaneTags: Aviation Collectibles

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.