Committed to a cleaner environment
At WestJet, our commitment to make our planet a better place to live is part of our responsible growth. After all, we care about our home, too. So here's what we're doing to be greener both in the air and on the ground.
Greener in the air
Our commitment to a greenhouse gas policy
Burning aviation fuel to operate our aircraft releases greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), into the atmosphere. The most direct and tangible control we can implement to mitigate our emissions footprint is to operate our fleet and our ground infrastructure as efficiently and safely as possible. Accordingly, our greenhouse gas environmental policy statement is focused on four core principles:
- We invest in fuel-efficient jet aircraft.
- We invest in technology and procedures that enable us to maximize operating efficiency and safety.
- We invest in infrastructure to mitigate the environmental footprint of our ground operations.
- We work in good faith with government agencies and regulators to develop rules and policies that further drive our operating efficiency and our ability to grow sustainably.
Between 2001 and 2010, we have spent over $2 billion on our fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737-series aircraft. As a result, we currently have one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleets in North America. The average age of an aircraft in our fleet is approximately five years old compared to the global airline average aircraft fleet age of 11 years (as estimated by the International Air Transport Association). According to Boeing data, fuel efficiency and emissions from our Next-Generation 737 aircraft (600, 700 and 800 series) are approximately 15 to 30 per cent lower on a per seat basis than the fleet of 737-200 series aircraft we replaced between 2000 and 2003. Our decision to remove the older-series aircraft from service represents a sizable ongoing operating investment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
We are a North American leader in the use of blended winglet technology. In 2003, we began installing winglets – wing-tip extensions that reduce fuel consumption by up to 2.7 per cent per flight on our 737 700-and 800-series aircraft. In 2004, we completed retrofitting all 700-series aircraft. Since then, all of our new 700- and 800-series aircraft arrive preconfigured with winglets.
Our tech-insertion engines
Since 2007, WestJet has only purchased aircraft equipped with CFM56-7B turbofan engines. The advanced configuration and improved technologies of the tech-insertion features in these engines provide up to one per cent better fuel consumption over the engine's lifecycle.
Greener on the Ground
WestJet's Calgary Campus is at the forefront of environmental design. It was constructed in accordance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™. Some sustainable highlights of our new facility include:
- reducing water consumption - use of a water tank to capture rainwater for use in landscaping;
- light-pollution reduction measures;
- external geothermal piping, running 107 metres deep, to access and store heating and cooling energy from the Earth;
- a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system that uses the most up-to-date technologies to ensure comfort and energy efficiency;
- incorporating the "right to light" philosophy on all floors, so everyone working in open work stations has access to natural light;
- ongoing measurement and verification of performance;
- construction materials that are sourced and selected based on higher recycled content;
- selecting recycled carpet, marmoleum flooring made of renewable materials, countertops made from recycled glass and concrete, and doors made from sustainable wood;
- provision for bicycle storage, showers and changing facilities to promote healthy commuting practices and alternatives to vehicle transportation;
- a 35 per cent reduction in energy consumption compared to market construction practice, which saves approximately 1,250 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.