Westjet Sierra

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Westjet Sierra
Westjet.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
WJ WJS WESTJET
Founded September 9, 1979 (1979-09-09)
Riverside, Inland Empire, Sierra
AOC # A-247
Hubs Riverside International Airport
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Westerly Club
Alliance Flyover Alliance
Fleet size 431
Destinations 63
Company slogan "It's the West Way to Go"
Traded as LSE: WES
Von Holt 500
LSE Composite
Headquarters Riverside, Inland Empire
Key people Royce Odenkirk (CEO)
Revenue $12.7 billion (2018)
Operating income $1.8 billion (2018)
Net income $2.1 billion (2018)
Total assets $19.3 billion (2018)
Total equity $7.1 billion (2018)
Employees 42,500 (2019)
Website westjetsierra.com
Westjet Sierra (PSE: WEST), stylized as WESTJET SIERRA, is a Sierran airline headquartered in Riverside, Inland Empire, and one of Anglo-America's largest low-cost carriers. Its focus cities include Riverside, Porciúncula, Grands Ballons, Fort Travis, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Antonio, New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, and Cancún. In 2018, it became the third largest Sierran airline by scheduled passengers flown, after Air Sierra and Sierrair. It is Anglo-America's largest low-cost carrier.

The airline was established in 1979 as Westjet when it began operating flights within the Southwest Corridor, before expanding nationwide and across the North American continent. As of June 2019, it has 42,500 employees and operates about 3,000 departures a day during peak travel season.

Westjet Sierra operates a fleet of 431 aircraft, including Overstars S-480s and Wendover P-4047s. As of 2018, it operates over 63 destinations and services to nine countries. Westjet Sierra's next planned service expansion is to Tondo.

Through the airline's parent company, Westjet Holdings, the airline is publicly traded on the Porciúncula Stock Exchange (PSE) under the symbol of WES and is part of the Von Holt 500 Average and LSE Composite indices. Westjet Sierra is a founding member of the Flyover Alliance, an alliance consisting of other international budget airlines.

Westjet Sierra is frequently ranked high in terms of value and customer service satisfaction. For nearly 33 years, Westjet Sierra did not suffer any fatal accidents or hull losses. In 2012, Westjet Sierra Flight 2493 resulted in the airline's first fatal accident, when an Overstars S-480 en route to Porciúncula from Salt Lake City entered in an aerodynamic stall and crashed into an uninhabited part of the Great Basin Desert in Clark, killing all 219 passengers and crew. The incident was the deadliest aviation accident in the history of Sierra.

History[edit | edit source]

The airline was founded by Kim Gerson, a retired schoolteacher who was a longtime aviator and small business owner. Westjet flew low-budget flights between cities within the Southwest Corridor, adopting the model pioneered by Brazorian Airlines during the 1960s. It had an initial fleet of 2 Overstars S-424s that were bought at discounted prices by Sierrair. Westjet's inaugural flight was on November 11, 1979 between Porciúncula, Riverside, and Las Vegas. In addition to cheap flights, Westjet Sierra operated select charter flights, although the company discontinued the service in 1993 due to low demand and financing concerns. The deregulation of the aviation industry during the 1980s allowed the airlines to expand its operations beyond the region and provide flights nationwide. Gerson, as CEO and president of the airlines, believed friendly service and cheap pricing would distinguish it from its competitors. He encouraged his pilots and crews to engage in casual, lighthearted conversations with passengers and to provide on-board entertainment during longer flights. Westjet Sierra was the first airline to offer hot boxes as a meal item, which is now a staple fixture in virtually every Sierran airline and some Anglo-American ones. It was also one of the few airlines to maintain a policy of not charging bags.

Riverside International Airport became the airline's hub in 1984, making it a direct competitor to major airlines operating at nearby airports. The airport, which was on the verge of closure, had suffered after the nearby Ontario International Airport received a substantial expansion and upgrade, when it was purchased by the Greater Porciúncula Area Aviation Authority (GPAAA). Aviation industry pressure groups, troubled by the competition brought by Westjet Sierra, sought to forcefully close down the Riverside airport, but the airlines successfully sued and secured its right to continue operating flights. The court ruling allowed the airport to remain open so long as Westjet Sierra continued to operate flights there. In response to the ruling, the Sierran aviation industry helped engineer the Cenizo Amendment, which prevented any airlines that operated in Riverside from operating in any of the GPAAA Airports, and banned carriers operating in Riverside to have flights extending beyond the Southwest Corridor. The legislation effectively limited Westjet Sierra's ability to expand its operations, but the publicity gained from the legislative battle led to increase in revenue and traffic for the airport and the airlines. By 1991, Westjet Sierra was the only major airline operating in Riverside International Airport.

In 1995, the airlines thrived despite the restrictions placed by the Cenizo Amendment. Other airlines interested in short-haul flights started service at the Riverside International Airport. Lawmakers felt that the Cenizo Amendment had unfairly been applied to the Riverside International Airport and its operators, and new amendments were added to relax its restrictions. Under the new changes, Westjet Sierra would be able to operate flights up to 1,000 miles and increased the number of seats an airplane could accommodate for flights that exceeded the restriction.

In 1996, Westjet was renamed as Westjet Sierra to reflect its Sierran origins as it opened its first international destination in Lubbock, Brazoria. The destination fell within the 1,000 mile restriction of the Cenizo Amendment, and the flight was thus allowed, despite legal challenges by the GPAAA and the City of Porciúncula. It introduced its first Overstars S-428s, which accommodated a greater number of passengers and reduced fuel costs substantially, allowing the company to undercut competitors' prices. It introduced automated ticketing at the gate and priority seating for early-bird customers.

In the early 2000s, Westjet Sierra retired all of its legacy Overstars S-424s and S-426s, and leased 50 Wendover P-3033s from Sierran Airlines through a contractual agreement between the two companies. In addition, it upgraded its existing fleet of Overstars S-428s with Overstars S-430Ps. This fleet change and expansion allowed Westjet Sierra to expand its operations further outside Sierra. In 2005, the Cenizo Amendment was fully repealed, allowing Westjet Sierra to begin nonstop flights between Porciúncula to New York City and Boston. It unsuccessfully prevented Riverside International Airport from being bought by GPAAA and was forced to share its terminals with other major airlines including Sierrair and Diamond Airlines. Rising fuel costs became a new issue that confronted Westjet Sierra as it worked towards lightening their aircraft by removing seats and hedged over 70% of its fuel.

In 2007, Westjet Sierra merged with Deseret Airlines, under the Westjet Sierra name, and was approved by the Ministry of Justice's antitrust review as it determined the merger did not pose a threat to airline aviation competition. The merger increased Westjet Sierra's fleet to over 400 aircraft. At the same time, Westjet Sierra founded the Flyover Alliance, the first airline alliance of its kind to include solely of international budget, no-frills airlines. The subsequent financial crisis of 2009 dealt a blow to Westjet Sierra's revenue and shares, and forced the airline to sell some of its planes and restructure the company. In 2010, Westjet Sierra pilots decided to unionize, and succeeded in joining the Allied Sierran Pilots Union.

Operations[edit | edit source]

Headquarters[edit | edit source]

Westjet Sierra is headquartered in Riverside, Inland Empire, adjacent to the Riverside International Airport. The headquarters consists of three office buildings, which share a total space of 1,200,000 square feet (111,480 m2). It is one of the largest corporations with a presence in Riverside. The headquarters also include a flight academy, employee training center, a museum, and a conference center. As of 2019, over 3,800 employees work at the headquarters office.

Destinations[edit | edit source]

Fleet[edit | edit source]

On-board amenities[edit | edit source]

Westerlies Club[edit | edit source]

Sponsorships[edit | edit source]

Accidents and incidents[edit | edit source]

Controversies and passenger incidents[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]