Open Jaw

Time Flies

WestJet Time line

February 29, 1996

  • With big dreams of providing low-fares and the best possible guest experience, WestJet Airlines takes off to five Canadian cities with 220 “WestJetters” and three Boeing 737-200s
  • WestJet engages the trade as it takes to the skies
  • The travel trade begins to recognize the value WestJet places on them as they contrast their business partnerships with WestJet and Greyhound Air, another low-cost airline in 1996


  • WestJet welcomes its one millionth guest


  • The WestJet Outside sales team is created and consists of just three people
    • Kris Sykora-National Sales Manager
    • Barry Tawse-District Sales Manager
    • Tim Paul –Inside Sales Coordinator (still with WestJet and operating as the Manager Sales Planning)
  • WestJet goes public with an IPO, netting $25 million. The employee share purchase plan is born and WestJetters become owners


  • WestJet launches online booking tool for travel agents
  • Despite the initial plan of being a regional airline in Western Canada, WestJet expands east, launching service to YHM, YOW and YQM.


  • “WS” displays on Sabre GDS with Type B messaging
  • WestJet expands service to Eastern Canada
  • WestJet accepts delivery of its first Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft (a 737-700).


  • The first travel agent electronic JetMail (email) is sent out, a new alternative to the faxed newsletter
  • WestJet joins the big leagues, launching service to YYZ, Canada’s largest airport
  • TAC (Turnaround Crew) is created, with WestJet’s own baggage handlers putting guest luggage in better hands than ever before


  • The relationship between WestJet and travel agents deepens as the first WestJet Sales Representative position is introduced
  • WestJet meets needs of the trade by incorporating Worldspan and Galileo
  • WestJet named favourite scheduled airline of Canadian travel agents
  • WestJet installs Winglets on its 737-700 series


  • LiveTV launches and personal video screens are installed on WS 737-700s
  • WestJet is awarded Canada’s Most Respected Corporation
  • WestJet adopts common use check-in kiosks at airports
  • WestJet heads south to service seven US destinations


  • WestJet hires its first Director of Sales to build relationships with the travel trade
  • WestJet retires the last Boeing 737-200, giving it the most modern fleet of any North American airline
  • WestJet offers a wonderful Christmas gift for guests - new flights to Honolulu and Maui – Aloha Hawaii!


  • WestJet introduces its first Caribbean destination – Nassau, Bahamas
  • WestJet Vacations is born providing packages for guests, opportunities for agents
  • WestJet is the first North American airline to launch the electronic boarding pass


  • WestJet joins the Sabre Airline Reservations System community
  • Mailed commission cheques are replaced by electronic payments through BSP, TIESS and ARC
  • WestJet introduces a Vice President of Sales position as partnership with travel trade grows


  • The WestJet RBC MasterCard and the WestJet Frequent Guest Program (now WestJet Rewards) launch
  • Cathay Pacific becomes WestJet’s first international code-share partner
  • WestJet is inducted into Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures Hall of Fame


  • WestJet joins Facebook and Twitter – they “liked it”!


  • Lyell Farquharson joins WestJet as Vice President of Sales
  • WestJet Encore launches to provide low fares to more people in more communities
  • WestJet launches its first international community investment initiative, WestJet Hero Holiday


  • The Travel Agency Awards are reintroduced to celebrate the achievements of agents and agencies in Canada
  • WestJet’s Christmas Miracle goes viral on social media -- remember those presents rolling out on the baggage carousels?
  • WestJet takes Mickey Mouse to a whole new level with the introduction of a Disney-themed Magic plane


  • Bryan Wolfenden retires as Director of Agency Sales at WestJet
  • Jane Clementino joins WestJet as Director of Agency Sales
  • WestJet launches a dedicated Travel Agency Resource site
  • WestJet Vacations commissions move over to TIESS
  • WestJet hops the pond with non-stop service between St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Dublin, Ireland — the airline’s first transatlantic service


  • Ring…a dedicated travel agent call centre is reintroduced and named the Travel Support team
  • WestJet takes to the skies travelling across Canada with inaugural Travel Trade Expos
  • The fleet grows as WestJet welcomes a wide-body Boeing 767 and a Disney Frozen themed plane


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