Our history

Since our first flight in 1996, we have strived to enrich the lives of everyone in WestJet’s world by providing safe, friendly and affordable air travel. Right from the start, WestJet put guests and people first and in doing so, we became one of Canada's most admired and respected corporate cultures. Today, flying to more than 100 destinations, WestJet stays true to its principles and continues to strive for the highest standards of service and success.

WestJetters celebrate taking flight in 1996


  198 aircraft      118 destinations   
A temple in Seoul, Korea

Seoul much history, Seoul much culture, Seoul much more. With our second non-stop Asian destination, guests can experience the diverse cuisine, culture and tradition with non-stop flights to South Korea.


  198 aircraft      118 destinations   
  • Our first flight across the Pacific Ocean begins, as we offer seasonal non-stop flights between Calgary and Tokyo. To our very first destination in Asia, we say “Kon’nichiwa, Japan!”
  • Our purchase of Sunwing makes the WestJet Group North America’s leisure travel champion.
  • On October 25, Swoop flies for the last time as WestJet absorbs the carrier and prepares to redefine ultra low-cost travel in Canada and beyond.
  • Our cargo offering ramps up with the addition of four narrowbody aircraft fully dedicated to cargo.
  • WestJet retires all remaining Boeing 737-600 aircraft.
Sunwing Vacations Group logo


  188 aircraft      108 destinations   
  • Our Cares for Kids Community Investment program turns 15, celebrating more than 100,000 flights donated to seven charitable partners.
  • After four years of designing and wear-testing, we reveal our new gender and body inclusive uniforms for frontline WestJetters. These award-winning uniforms are designed for everybody and every body, celebrating WestJetters' individual styles, identities and authentic selves.  
  • As pandemic restrictions lifted and the airline industry slowly recovered, we stood apart as the only carrier in Canada that did not receive sector-specific support.
  • Our growth strategy soars to new heights as we ink a deal with Boeing to purchase an additional 42 fuel-efficient 737-10 MAX aircraft, plus 22 additional purchase options.
  • We’ve always loved our Calgary home. That’s why in 2022 we pledged to make YYC Calgary International Airport our global connecting hub for our entire 787-9 Dreamliner fleet.

WestJetters at the YYC Calgary International Airport proudly greeting guests in their new award-winning and inclusive uniforms.


  177 aircraft      77 destinations   


  183 aircraft      83 destinations   
  • Forbes names us one of Canada’s Best Employers for the fifth time.
  • COVID-19 hit aviation hard. Although leisure travel was suspended and hundreds of aircraft grounded, WestJetters continued to show up. For three months we operated 28 repatriation flights to 14 different worldwide destinations and safely returned more than 4,000 Canadians home. 
  • We leaned on WestJet Cargo to keep critical domestic supply chain lines open throughout the pandemic, transporting everything from perishables and pharmaceuticals to household goods.
  • After two years of planning and construction, we celebrated the grand opening of the Elevation Lounge at our home base: The YYC Calgary International Airport. 
  • We retire all our Boeing 767-300 aircraft, leaving us with one of North America’s most fuel-efficient fleets.
Lounge chairs at the WestJet Elevation Lounge Calgary

The award-winning WestJet Elevation Lounge demonstrates our commitment to delivering world-class guest experiences both in the air and on the ground.


  184 aircraft      106 destinations   


  181 aircraft      106 destinations   
  • We unveil our Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with a new livery and an updated company logo.
  • We launch regular flights from Canada to Paris, France.
  • Swoop is born, Canada’s first ultra-low-cost carrier.
WestJet 787-9 Dreamliner flying over the coast


  168 aircraft      102 destinations   
  • We are the first Canadian airline to receive the new, fuel-efficient Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This state-of-the-art engineering marvel is 14 per cent more fuel efficient than the 737 Next Generation aircraft and is also the quietest bird in the fleet.
  • We're named Canada’s most trusted airline by the Gustavson Brand Trust Index for a second time.


  153 aircraft      100 destinations   
  • Our first wide-body transatlantic flight to London Gatwick takes place.
London UK's Big Ben clock tower


  140 aircraft      98 destinations   
  • The first of four wide-body Boeing 767 aircraft joins WestJet’s fleet.
  • In 2015 we unveiled our second Disney-themed Frozen plane showcasing the cold-to-warm journey from Arendelle to the beach. In 2024 we bid goodbye to Elsa, Anna and Olaf as we retired the livery from our fleet.  


  122 aircraft      107 destinations   
  • We celebrate our first transatlantic flight by introducing seasonal non-stop service to Dublin, Ireland.


  105 aircraft      87 destinations   
  • Introducing WestJet Encore! We bring affordable air travel to more people in more communities with 8 De Havilland Dash 8-400 (Q400) NextGen turboprop aircraft.
  • In December, we unveiled a new magical plane, custom-painted with a Walt Disney World Resort theme featuring Mickey Mouse in his role as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. After an impressive 11-year run, this livery was retired from the fleet in 2024.  
WestJet's Disney Magic Plane


  100 aircraft      81 destinations   
  • We take delivery of our 100th Boeing 737 Next Generation Aircraft.


  97 aircraft      71 destinations   
  • We're listed among Canada's Top 100 Employers by MediaCorp. Aon Hewitt names us one of the Best Employers in Canada, and JD Power gives us a Customer Service Champion award.


  91 aircraft      71 destinations   
  • Our flight attendants are named best in industry for their friendly attitude and customer service in a survey done by air travelers.


  86 aircraft      67 destinations   
  • Our growing airline opens the doors to our environmentally conscious, LEED-certified Calgary campus (gold level). The $100 million building is designed to provide a healthy, friendly and dynamic workplace for WestJetters — and is also home to one of Calgary's busiest Starbucks locations.
  • A study conducted by Leger Marketing indicates we are Canada’s preferred airline, ranking 21st in the magazine’s annual corporate reputation survey.

Aerial view of the WestJet Calgary campus


  76 aircraft      55 destinations   
  • Proud to win the award for one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures for the fourth year in a row.


  70 aircraft      46 destinations   
  • We become the first North American airline to offer paperless boarding passes.
  • Our Cares for Kids Community Investment program launches.
  • For the third year in a row, we are named in the top ten of Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures.


  63 aircraft      35 destinations   
  • We're Bahamas-bound! Our first service to Nassau begins. 
  • WestJet Vacations launches affordable, reliable and easy booking of vacation packages.

Tropical beach


  56 aircraft      33 destinations   
  • We retire our original 200-series Boeing 737s and celebrate with discounted flights to our original five destinations, gifts for local children's hospitals, and a “fly bye” of the YYC hangar. The retirement of the original fleet makes us one of North America's most modern airlines.
  • Named as one of Canada’s Top 25 Respected Corporations for the third consecutive year.


  54 aircraft      32 destinations   
  • We introduce transborder service to several U.S. destinations including New York City, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa.
  • We are the first airline in the world to implement Required Navigation Performance (RNP), a new onboard navigational system designed to mitigate possible disruption in service, especially in smaller market airports.
New York City edge of Central Park


  44 aircraft      24 destinations   
  • We are named as one of Canada’s Top 25 Respected Corporations for the first time.


  35 aircraft      21 destinations   
  • Revenues increase 42 per cent and once again profit share is distributed among employees.
  • We enter the business travel market with service to Toronto and London, Ontario.


  27 aircraft      20 destinations   
  • In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America, we work diligently to be the first Canadian airline taking flight again, ensuring the transition to a more secure airspace while remaining focused on the comfort and safety of guests. 


  22 aircraft      15 destinations   
  • We expand service to Eastern Canada with stops in Ottawa and Moncton, and establish Hamilton as our eastern hub.
  • Operations are centralized to a new office space on Deerfoot Trail in Calgary.
  • Our company founders are honoured as The Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs of the Year.
  • Profit share is distributed for the first time among employees, beginning what is to become a long-standing tradition within the company during profitable times. 


  16 aircraft      12 destinations   
  • We hold our initial public offering on July 13, 1999 and go live as WJA on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Shares went on sale at $10, and by year-end were valued at $18.

WestJet founder Clive Beddoe encouraging WestJetters at a company event


  11 aircraft      9 destinations   
  • We reach another milestone, earning over a million dollars in annual sales.
  • What's better than flying two million guests? Flying three million.
  • WestJet Cargo launches operations with space dedicated to air shipping in the belly of our passenger aircraft.


  6 aircraft      8 destinations   
  • Our one millionth passenger steps aboard.
  • Always on trend, we introduce denim uniforms.


  3 aircraft      6 destinations   
  • We take our inaugural flight on February 29th, a great leap forward to providing Canadians with affordable air travel. 
  • From our hub at the YYC Calgary International Airport, our destinations include Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna, on a fleet of three Boeing 737-200 aircraft, supported by a team of 220 employees.


  • Founded in 1994 by our first Chief Executive Officer Clive Beddoe, along with co-founders Mark Hill, Don Bell and Tim Morgan. 

Latest updates on WestJet

Stay in the know as we continue to write our history.
Follow the latest updates from WestJet on our Newsroom.

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