WestJet says 'aloha!'
September 21, 2005
Westjet Airlines will be adding non-stop flights to both Honolulu and Maui in December, the Calgary-based carrier announced yesterday.
"Hawaii is one of the destinations that our loyal guests and dedicated WestJetters have been asking us to serve for several years," said Sean Durfy, Westjet's executive vice-president of marketing and sales in a release.
Beginning Dec. 9, WestJet will offer five-day a week service from Vancouver to Honolulu and two-day a week flights to Maui as of Dec. 17.
The move expands WestJet transborder service to U.S. destinations. The discount carrier already offers flights to a number of destinations in Florida as well as to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Palm Springs.
The announcement comes at a time when the major airlines are struggling to make a profit as they buck against the strong headwinds of high fuel prices. WestJet, which had been flying without a price-protection hedge on its jet fuel, implemented a fuel-risk-management strategy and is paying 70.7 cents per litre for 40 per cent of its expected September consumption, 20 per cent of its October needs and 10 per cent of its forecast November demand.
With narrow profit margins, announcing the expansion now makes perfect sense according to a Calgary airline analyst.
"They're obviously looking for additional revenue streams and the Hawaiian islands are popular, especially in Western Canada and it's a sunspot destination," said analyst Rick Erickson.
"I applaud the move. It's a time when they need additional sources of revenue. They've had some challenges in the transborder market and this should be a good market for them," he said.
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