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, Korea: A city where ancient meets modern in a mesmerizing blend of culture, flavour and tradition


  198 aircraft      118 destinations   
  • WestJet inaugurates service to Japan with seasonal nonstop flights between Calgary and Tokyo.
  • The airline finalizes the purchase of Sunwing, making 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.
  • WestJet ramps up cargo offering 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   
  • WestJet Cares for Kids program turns 15, celebrating more than 100,000 flights donated to seven charitable partners.
  • After four years of designing and wear-testing, WestJet reveals new gender and body inclusive uniform for front line workers.
  • As pandemic restrictions lifted and recovery of the industry begins, WestJet maintains position as the only carrier in Canada that did not receive sector-specific support.
  • WestJet Group furthers its growth strategy, inking deal with Boeing for an additional 42 fuel-efficient 737-10 MAX aircraft plus 22 options.

WestJetters at the Calgary airport enjoying their new uniforms


  177 aircraft      77 destinations   


  183 aircraft      83 destinations   
  • For three months WestJet operates 28 repatriation flights to 14 worldwide destinations and safely returns more than 4,000 Canadians home during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The airline retires all 767-300 aircraft, leaving WestJet with one of North America’s most fuel-efficient fleets.
  • After two years of planning and construction, WestJet celebrates the grand opening of the Elevation Lounge at Calgary International Airport.
  • Forbes names WestJet one of Canada’s Best Employers for the fifth time.

Lounge chairs at the WestJet Elevation Lounge Calgary

The award-winning WestJet Elevation Lounge offers many seating options for our guests to relax


  184 aircraft      106 destinations   
  • WestJet is purchased by ONEX.
  • WestJet teams up with Indigenous partners, entrepreneurs and youth of Canada by committing $100,000 to the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada.


  181 aircraft      106 destinations   
  • WestJet unveils its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with a new livery and an updated company logo.
  • WestJet inaugurates service to Paris, France.
  • WestJet launches Swoop, Canada’s first ultra low-cost carrier.
WestJet 787-9 Dreamliner flying over the coast


  168 aircraft      102 destinations   
  • WestJet is 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.
  • WestJet is named Canada’s most trusted airline by the Gustavson Brand Trust Index for a second time.


  153 aircraft      100 destinations   
  • WestJet inaugurates its first wide-body transatlantic flight to London Gatwick.
London UK's Big Ben clock tower


  140 aircraft      98 destinations   
  • The first of four wide-body Boeing 767 aircraft joins WestJet’s fleet.


  122 aircraft      107 destinations   
  • WestJet celebrates its first transatlantic flight by introducing seasonal non-stop service to Dublin, Ireland.


  105 aircraft      87 destinations   
  • WestJet Encore takes off, bringing affordable air travel to more people in more communities with 8 De Havilland Dash 8-400 (Q400) NextGen turboprop aircraft.
  • In December, WestJet 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.
WestJet's Disney Magic Plane


  100 aircraft      81 destinations   
  • WestJet takes delivery of its 100th Boeing 737 Next Generation Aircraft.


  97 aircraft      71 destinations   
  • WestJet is listed among Canada's Top 100 Employers, is named one of Aon Hewitt's Best Employers in Canada and is named a JD Power Customer Service Champion.


  91 aircraft      71 destinations   
  • WestJet 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   
  • The growing airline opens the doors of its 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 WestJet is 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   
  • WestJet is named as one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures for the fourth year in a row.


  70 aircraft      46 destinations   
  • WestJet becomes the first North American airline to offer paperless boarding passes.
  • WestJet launches its Cares for Kids community giving program.
  • For the third year in a row, WestJet is named in the top ten of Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures.


  63 aircraft      35 destinations   
  • WestJet expands to first international destination with service to Nassau in the Bahamas.
  • WestJet Vacations launches affordable, reliable and easy booking of vacation packages.

Tropical beach


  56 aircraft      33 destinations   
  • WestJet retires its original 200-series 737s and celebrates with flights to its original five, gifts for local children's hospitals, and a “fly bye” of the YYC hangar. The retirement of the original fleet made WestJet one of North America's most modern airlines.
  • WestJet is named as one of Canada’s Top 25 respected Corporations for the third consecutive year


  54 aircraft      32 destinations   
  • WestJet introduces transborder service to several U.S. destinations including New York City, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa.
  • WestJet becomes the first airline in the world to implement Required Navigational Performance (RNP), a new onboard navigational system designed to mitigate possible disruption in service, especially in smaller market airports.
  • WestJet splits shares for the third time in five years.

New York City edge of Central Park


  44 aircraft      24 destinations   
  • WestJet is named as one of Canada’s Top 25 respected Corporations for the first time.


  35 aircraft      21 destinations   
  • WestJet shares split three for two for the second time, while revenues increase 42 per cent.
  • WestJet moves into the business travel market, introducing service to Toronto and London, Ontario.


  27 aircraft      20 destinations   
  • After 9/11, WestJet worked diligently to be the first airline in Canada to start flying again and ensure the transition to a more secure airspace didn't hamper the comfort or safety of guests.


  22 aircraft      15 destinations   
  • WestJet expands to Eastern Canada with service to Ottawa and Moncton and reveals Hamilton as its eastern hub.
  • WestJet centralizes its operations to a new office space on Deerfoot Trail in Calgary.
  • WestJet's founders are honoured as The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
  • WestJet splits shares for the first time.


  16 aircraft      12 destinations   
  • WestJet goes public on the Toronto Stock Exchange under WJA. WestJet Airline’s initial public offering was held July 13, 1999. 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   
  • What's better than flying two million guests? Flying three million.
  • WestJet earns its millionth dollar in sales.
  • WestJet Cargo launches operations with space dedicated to air shipping in the belly of the passenger aircraft.


  6 aircraft      8 destinations   
  • WestJet welcomes its one millionth passenger.
  • The airline introduces denim uniforms.


  3 aircraft      6 destinations   
  • WestJet takes flight on February 29, 1996, with service to Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna on a fleet of three Boeing 737 jets and 220 employees.


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

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