WestJet sees big lift from "premium economy" seats

TORONTO Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:16am IST

Related Topics

Stocks

   

TORONTO (Reuters) - WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA.TO) expects a multi-million dollar lift from its new "premium economy" seating, and is planning a new in-flight entertainment system that will reduce costs, the chief executive of Canada's second-largest airline said on Tuesday.

The new screenless entertainment system, to be tested next year, would let travelers hook up their own device to access Internet content along with live and taped television, movies and music, CEO Gregg Saretsky said at a Scotiabank transportation conference.

"If it all works, we can remove the seat back (screens), you bring your own tablet or iPad or computer or smartphone and we will beam the content to your device," he said in a webcast presentation.

The shift would remove about 1,200 pounds from each aircraft and cut fuel costs, he said.

WestJet has not yet determined if it will charge for content offered through travelers' own devices, and whether it will use ground towers or satellites to support the entertainment system.

With plans to introduce premium economy seating next year, Calgary, Alberta-based WestJet is shifting from its roots as a low-cost rival to bigger Air Canada (ACb.TO).

Saretsky would not forecast how much additional revenue the seating will produce, but said it could be similar to gains at U.S. carrier JetBlue Airway (JBLU.O).

"If you look at the premium economy model in the United States, specifically JetBlue ... they talk about a $150 million bump. That gives you some sense of the size of the opportunity we see," Saretsky said.

WestJet said this summer that it will offer 24 premium economy seats on each of its 100 planes early next year, a service that will include priority boarding and refundable tickets.

(Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Janet Guttsman and Tim Dobbyn)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

School Shooting

School Shooting

Two killed, four wounded in Washington state school shooting.  Full Article 

Sundar Pichai Elevated

Sundar Pichai Elevated

Google's Pichai to oversee major products and services.  Full Article 

Need For Reforms

Need For Reforms

Euro zone risks "relapse into recession" without structural reforms - Draghi.  Full Article 

Diwali Sales

Diwali Sales

Gold sales jump about 20 pct for Diwali - trade body  Full Article 

World Bank Rival

World Bank Rival

Three major nations absent as China launches W.Bank rival in Asia  Full Article 

Wal-Mart India

Wal-Mart India

Murali Lanka appointed as Wal-Mart India operations chief  Full Article 

Health Of Lenders

Health Of Lenders

25 European banks set to fail health checks - sources.  Full Article 

Special Report

Special Report

Why Madrid's poor fear Goldman Sachs and Blackstone  Full Article 

India Insight

India Insight

Kalki Koechlin on her role as a disabled girl in “Margarita, With a Straw”  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage