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Timeline: WestJet's history in Calgary, from plucky startup to global player


A timeline of WestJet’s history in Calgary.

1996 – Calgary-based startup airline WestJet takes first flight, as a low-cost alternative to the country’s major airlines. The company has three aircraft, offers five destinations, and has 220 employees.

1999 – WestJet goes public, with an IPO held June 13, 1999. Shares went on sale at $10, and by year end were valued at $18.

2000 – WestJet moves into eastern Canada, adding Ottawa and Moncton as destinations, with Hamilton as its eastern hub.

2002 – WestJet targets the business travel market for the first time, adding Toronto and London, Ontario to its network.

2004 – WestJet adds U.S. destinations to the mix; travellers can now fly to New York City, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa.

2006 – WestJet goes international, adding service to the Bahamas. Also launches WestJet Vacations, offering affordable, reliable and easy booking of vacation packages.

2009 – WestJet opens its new Calgary headquarters, a $100-million building near Calgary International Airport.

2012 – WestJet takes delivery of its 100th Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft.

2012 – WestJet Encore launches. The regional carrier aims to connect under-served smaller cities using a fleet of Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop planes.

2013 – WestJet signs letter of intent to purchase 65 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

2014 – WestJet takes its first trans-Atlantic flight, introducing seasonal non-stop service to Dublin, Ireland.

2015 – WestJet takes delivery of four wide-body Boeing 767 aircraft, laying the groundwork for international expansion. Welcomes 20 million guests this year, a new record.

2016 – WestJet celebrates its 20th anniversary and launches its first wide-body transatlantic flight to London-Gatwick.

2018 – WestJet unveils its new Boeing Dreamliner . It’s a major milestone for the company, which will take possession of 10 787s by 2021, with an option to buy 10 more.

2019 – Private equity firm Onex Corp. signs a friendly deal to buy WestJet in a transaction valued at $5 billion. WestJet’s headquarters will remain in Calgary.

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