WestJet on May 2, 2017 announced a definitive purchase agreement with The Boeing Company for up to 20 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. This agreement includes commitments for 10 Boeing 787-9 aircraft to be delivered between the first quarter of 2019 and December 2021, with options for an additional 10 aircraft to be delivered between 2020 and 2024. The airline also announced it has selected General Electric’s GEnx-1B engine for the 787.
As part of this purchase agreement, WestJet is converting 15 firm orders for the Boeing 737 MAX that were to be delivered between 2019 and 2021 to options available between 2022 and 2024.
On the financial side, WestJet also announced its 48th consecutive profitable quarter, with first quarter 2017 net earnings of $48.3 million (all amounts in Canadian dollars), or $0.41 per diluted share. This compares with quarterly net earnings of $87.6 million, or $0.71 per diluted share reported in the first quarter of 2016. These first quarter 2017 results include a pre-tax non-cash adjustment to its maintenance provision of $18.5 million and irregular operations related costs of $7.0 million due to severe winter weather experienced in the quarter. Based on the trailing twelve months, the airline achieved a return on invested capital of 10.0 per cent, compared with the 11.3 per cent reported in the previous quarter.
“We are pleased to report strong topline revenue growth and our first positive unit revenue (RASM) performance in eight quarters. We are seeing good results from Plus, our premium economy product, growth in our WestJet Rewards program and penetration into the business traveller segment all of which gives us confidence that RASM will continue to improve for the remainder of the year,” said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. “I want to thank our over 12,000 WestJetters for their continued dedication to safely providing our growing number of guests with WestJet’s award-winning brand of friendly caring service, especially given the challenging winter weather conditions we endured in the quarter.”