WestJet Cargo enters new stage

Taxiing in 2022, taking off in 2023, the Calgary-based cargo carrier is now heading for cruise level in 2024, Kirsten de Bruijn (KdB), Executive Vice-President, Cargo, illustrates the company’s next stage and details its intermediate goals for the months ahead.

WestJet Cargo’s converted freighters can accommodate up to 25 tons – photos: company courtesy

WestJet Cargo’s development is progressing rapidly. The past year was characterized by the delivery of the first cargo aircraft, the network expansion, and the recruitment of motivated employees who are passionate about their job in air freight. Naturally, this also led to cultural changes at the airline, which was previously only active in passenger traffic, including new impulses and strategic considerations. In 2024, the focus is on three main topics: building and expanding the carrier’s strategic partnerships, further diversifying and finetuning its product mix, and implementing the digital roadmap with respect to online marketplaces and based on a new website, announces Ms. de Bruijn.

Incheon and Narita are calling
Touching the issue of new routes complementing the carrier’s current network, she mentions the Korean Capital Seoul, and Japan’s Tokyo Narita Airport that will be served by the airline as of 17MAY24. The flights will offer the market belly cargo capacity, complemented by main deck options through strategic partnerships with carriers operating freighters on sectors connecting North America and the Far East. The situation is similar for existing transatlantic connections between Canada and Western Europe, served by WestJet.

New cargo website
The mentioned network enlargement goes hand in hand with a continued strategic planning approach to effectively navigating market dynamics together with the right partners and strengthening WestJet Cargo’s position in the global air freight sector.

The launch of a new cargo website is at the top of the agenda of the freight carrier’s intended digital innovation initiative stands. This step is done in anticipation of a shift towards more self-service options. A statement that calls for questions:

Kirsten de Bruin joined WestJet in APR22, becoming Executive VP Cargo

CFG: Does this mean that WestJet Cargo has no plans to cooperate with e-booking platforms such as cargo.one, WebCargo, CargoAI, or similar portals?

KdB: One of WestJet Cargo’s key objectives for 2024, is to enhance accessibility and ease of contact, notably through the development of our new website.

CFG: In a press release, you emphasize that the project is complemented by digital partnerships. What makes a partner the right partner – which specific criteria are essential for this?

KdB: It’s crucial to have the appropriate partner since everyone aims to contribute to the success and accomplishments of the collaboration. Key factors to consider in selecting a partner include:

  • Their reputation and trustworthiness
  • Operational excellence
  • Network compatibility
  • Customer focus

The quality of human resources is a key success factor
Further to this, Kirsten emphasizes that digital innovation coupled with automation and advanced technologies within WestJet Cargo’s operations, depends on human acceptance and support or else it won’t work. “Since the core element for company success in all these areas is human capital, WestJet Cargo will continue to invest in its people, focusing on career development, diversity, and inclusion.”

Kirsten de Bruijn concludes: “In 2022, we were taxiing and, in 2023, we successfully took off as a cargo airline. WestJet Cargo has no intention of slowing down at all in 2024. We’re climbing and aiming for cruising altitude on our company flight path, this year.”

A statement that should make competitors pause and think.

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