WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

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WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#1 Post by 43S/172E » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:20 am

From the CBC

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/westjet ... -1.3810374

WestJet and London: A mess or a success?
Airline's expansion has put bums in seats but company struggling with delayed, cancelled, diverted flights
By Tracy Johnson, CBC News Posted: Oct 20, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Oct 20, 2016 5:00 AM ET

As WestJet struggles with the operation of its Canada-to-London routes, the last thing the airline needed was another grounded flight.
But that's just what happened Tuesday, when a WestJet flight from London's Gatwick Airport to Toronto was diverted to Greenland because of a potential mechanical problem. Passengers were given meal vouchers, and two aircraft were sent to Greenland to bring them to Canada.
This has become a familiar story for the airline. Earlier this month, two flights from Toronto to London were cancelled. According to flight-tracking website Flight Aware, a further three from London to Toronto were cancelled the same weekend.

Three weeks before that, a WestJet flight from London to Edmonton was diverted to Iceland, once again because of a mechanical issue.
As airline analyst Ben Cherniavsky, of financial services company Raymond James, wrote in a research report earlier this month, "The passengers were accommodated in hotel rooms, two 737s were flown in to retrieve them to YEG [Edmonton] and a new engine was delivered (on a chartered 747) to repair the plane."
In addition, everyone on board was entitled to 600 euro compensation, according to European Union regulations.

A mess?

In September, WestJet's chief executive Gregg Saretsky told the audience at a Calgary business conference that his airline's expansion into London was one of the best decisions WestJet has ever made.
In terms of number of seats sold, WestJet's expansion to Europe has been a huge success. But in terms of operations, it's been a mess.
Edmonton-bound WestJet flight lands safely in Iceland after emergency

In his report, Cherniavsky found that over a five-week period starting September 1, nine per cent of WestJet's flights between Toronto and Gatwick were cancelled, and 40 per cent were on time. For Air Canada Rouge, flying the same route over the same period, closer to 70 per cent were on time.
WestJet said that from August 1st until October 18th, 14 flights were cancelled and four diverted, one of those for medical reasons.
As well, data from Flight Aware indicates that since July 1, there have been 13 WestJet flights out of London to Canadian cities that have been delayed more than three hours, the point at which compensation must be paid to passengers.

Who pays for mechanical issues?

These long delays and cancellations can be traced back to mechanical issues with the four Boeing 767s that WestJet purchased from Qantas through a deal with Boeing Capital. They have an average age of 24 years, which is not out of the ordinary in the airline business, but does pose challenges.
"The 767s have been giving us lots of grief, lots of mechanical problems," Saretsky said in an internal video from June, adding that he hoped reliability would improve by early July.

The airline has put the blame for the mechanical problems on the repair facility in Louisiana that refurbished the aircraft after WestJet took possesion of them. A spokesperson for WestJet told CBC News that there have been talks with Boeing about whether the airline is due some compensation.

A success?

On the flip side, WestJet has proved that Canadians are fine with having to buy their meals and pay for baggage on a trans-Atlantic flight as long as the fares are cheap. There is not much question that the airline has put bums in seats and that is why it is calling London a success.
WestJet CEO calls London flights a success, despite problems
"Many laughed at WestJet, saying, 'They don't really understand long-haul travel, because every other international airline does a free meal.' I'd like to say we understand travellers very well, because no one else sells London for $299," Saretsky said at his speech in Calgary in September.
In fact, Ben Cherniavsky estimated that WestJet's load factor on those flights has been close to 90 per cent, stimulated by very low fares.
In his report, he wrote that WestJet has shown that there is significant market opportunity for the airline in London, but he's not calling it a win yet.
"Although we expect WestJet's Q3 revenue to reflect the 'commercial success' of LGW [London-Gatwick] we struggle to gain confidence in the airline as an investment until LGW also proves to be an 'operational success,'" Cherniavsky said.
In the meantime, the airline says it thinks its passengers have been happy with their trips.
In an email to CBC News, WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart wrote, "As we end our first summer season of travel to Gatwick (with the exception of Calgary and Toronto, which now have year-round service), we are certain the experience was enjoyed by the approximately 320,000 guests who had the opportunity to visit both sides of the pond at prices rarely seen."
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#2 Post by complexintentions » Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:17 am

In his report, Cherniavsky found that over a five-week period starting September 1, nine per cent of WestJet's flights between Toronto and Gatwick were cancelled, and 40 per cent were on time.
OTP is one thing. Whatever, it usually sucks in the beginning of a new route.

But a 1 in 10 chance of having your flight cancelled? :shock:

Yeah...no. Saving a few bucks isn't worth those odds.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#3 Post by aerobod » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:05 am

From 15 Aug to 15 Oct using FlightStats data, there were 369 WestJet 767 flights to and from LGW and Canada. Of these flights, 2 were diverted, 9 were cancelled, for a total rate of 3%.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#4 Post by ahramin » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:52 am

Doesn't matter. The traveling public has made it clear that they have no interest in paying for reliability.

The only question remaining is are they turning a profit?
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#5 Post by Saxub » Fri Oct 21, 2016 6:57 pm

aerobod wrote:From 15 Aug to 15 Oct using FlightStats data, there were 369 WestJet 767 flights to and from LGW and Canada. Of these flights, 2 were diverted, 9 were cancelled, for a total rate of 3%.
That's actually not that bad. 97% dispatch reliability this early in the game on airplanes that old is acceptable.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#6 Post by aerobod » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:46 pm

Saxub wrote:
aerobod wrote:From 15 Aug to 15 Oct using FlightStats data, there were 369 WestJet 767 flights to and from LGW and Canada. Of these flights, 2 were diverted, 9 were cancelled, for a total rate of 3%.
That's actually not that bad. 97% dispatch reliability this early in the game on airplanes that old is acceptable.
Dispatch reliability of 97.6%, completion of 97.0%, or 97.3% if the YVR-bound diversion for medical reasons is not included.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#7 Post by complexintentions » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:33 pm

Don't shoot the messenger, just quoting the article's 9% figure.

Revising stats doesn't change the perception of a high number of diversions. Cancelling 9 flights in two months is still a lot. It's why articles like this get written.

And yes, all the Canadian public cares about is the price. I prefer reliability but I'm a weirdo.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#8 Post by Rookie50 » Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:27 am

complexintentions wrote:Don't shoot the messenger, just quoting the article's 9% figure.

Revising stats doesn't change the perception of a high number of diversions. Cancelling 9 flights in two months is still a lot. It's why articles like this get written.

And yes, all the Canadian public cares about is the price. I prefer reliability but I'm a weirdo.
No kidding.

As a business owner myself, I guess I'm also strange thinking the CEO is off base calling his London operation a success. It's an embarassment and the CEO should stand up and say "I'm responsible -- no excuses".

my .02..
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#9 Post by skypirate88 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:31 pm

They must see some sort of financial gain. I don't know what the deal includes but it sounds like if passed more big tin will be on order.

http://www.pilotcareercenter.com/Aviati ... n%20follow
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#10 Post by JBI » Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:55 am

I flew on WJ's 767 from YYC to YYZ for the first time the other day. Overall I was very impressed. The interior is pretty good and happily watched Dead Pool on the onboard internet based entertainment system. The overhead bins and lavs do show their age, but from what I recall the last time I was on an AC 767, it was similar. Everything was clean. My only complaint was a surprising one - the new LED reading lights are VERY bright. In a dimmed cabin its actually too bright!

I had one of the hot meals and it was pretty good. Definitely the same or better than anything I've had on AC or Transat when travelling trans-Atlantic. Truthfully, for all airlines though, I buy food prior to the flight as I find even the stuff at airport food joints are more to my liking. Really not sure why the buy on board food for WJ's overseas flights was such an issue. I would gladly pay less on the fare and then bring food with me or buy on board.

So a mess or success? Didn't realize things have to be an either/or proposition. From what I can tell the trans-Atlantic flights have been full, profitable and there have been more than expected passengers from the UK/Europe who use WJ to connect on to various holiday destinations in the US (Orlando and Las Vegas) and the Caribbean. Does it mean that the introduction has been perfect? Far from it. Seems to me that the company and CEO in particular have acknowledged this fact numerous times.

Does it mean that WJ should stop the whole profitable expansion because it didn't go as smoothly as hoped? In my opinion: No.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#11 Post by atphat » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:01 am

+1. Well said. In time WJ will be very successful with the WB operation.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#12 Post by Longtimer » Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:57 am

atphat wrote:+1. Well said. In time WJ will be very successful with the WB operation.
Well I suspect any success will only come with newer metal and that is unlikely now that the pilots have voted against more wide bodies. How long does the current agreement last to operate the existing 4?
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#13 Post by Benwa » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:22 am

I'm pretty sure that what was voted down is the Work Conditions offered to fly more Widebodies.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#14 Post by Longtimer » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:56 am

Benwa wrote:I'm pretty sure that what was voted down is the Work Conditions offered to fly more Widebodies.
So the agreement to fly the existing 4 is open ended?
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#15 Post by KAG » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:46 am

No it ends in a year. We want bigger machines, we just want to tweak the MOA first. No biggie, standby for new atis message.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#16 Post by yycflyguy » Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:56 am

KAG wrote:No it ends in a year. We want bigger machines, we just want to tweak the MOA first. No biggie, standby for new atis message.
Question. Did the persons responsible for negotiating the first MOA resign? If they did not, but think they could get better WAWCON now, why did they present the first MOA for a vote?
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#17 Post by KAG » Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:09 pm

Like most things that get voted down, some people thought it was ok. The group didn't. Like I said no biggie, we'll get it fixed up and carry on.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#18 Post by yycflyguy » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:15 am

KAG wrote:Like most things that get voted down, some people thought it was ok. The group didn't. Like I said no biggie, we'll get it fixed up and carry on.
Yeah, but my question is: are the same people that brought a defeated MOA still negotiating on behalf of the members?
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#19 Post by Ex DC10 Driver » Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:25 pm

Of course. Why wouldn't they be? When they go back to the company to negotiate they are in a better bargaining position than before the vote. Wouldn't be any different if the pilots were represented by a different organization. Not every vote brought forward passes...that is why they have a vote.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#20 Post by yycflyguy » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:09 am

Ex DC10 Driver wrote:Of course. Why wouldn't they be? When they go back to the company to negotiate they are in a better bargaining position than before the vote. Wouldn't be any different if the pilots were represented by a different organization. Not every vote brought forward passes...that is why they have a vote.
So they think they have more leverage now and are in a better position? Interesting.

You're right, not all votes pass. When a negots team fails to bring a contract/MOA that ratifies there is an obvious disconnect between what the members want and what they could negotiate. They failed to extract full value.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#21 Post by Old fella » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:46 pm

KAG wrote:Like most things that get voted down, some people thought it was ok. The group didn't. Like I said no biggie, we'll get it fixed up and carry on.
Did your negotiating committee recommend accepting what the company offered you. If they did and membership indicated no , not accepting then that means the membership has lost confidence in the committe which usually means resignations and a new committee is set up.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#22 Post by URC » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:48 pm

And the fun continues. I see the previous two nights the YYZ-LGW flight was cancelled, and tonight they are running two flights to catch up. Two flights on the same night, I guess that increases the odds 50% of a diversion somewhere. Anyone have Goose Bay or Iqaluit on their WJ 767 Diversion Bingo Card ?
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#23 Post by Oxi » Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:38 pm

WS2 cancelled LGW YYC
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#24 Post by Longtimer » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:21 am

WestJet is promoting their non stop service from Alberta to Hawaii starting in Dec. Let's hope they get their 767 aircraft reliability fixed.
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Re: WestJet and London: A mess or a success?

#25 Post by Baron » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:07 am

I have flown on AC and WJ to London and by far WJ was a better experience. The crews and counter don't have that old Crown Corp attitude that is still prevalent at AC
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