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Available Expert - WestJet launches new no-frills airline

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Queen’s University marketing professor Ken Wong is available to comment on WestJet Airlines announcing the launch of a no-frills airline later this year. The company has said it will start with 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

“WestJet has become a lot less WestJet-like in recent years,” says Professor Wong. “While the airline’s personality has continued to be cheerful and grassroots, the addition of business class, the charges for luggage and seating and the addition of new aircraft that are not their standard 737s make the airline seem more conventional. The aircraft decision is a big factor since much of WestJet's historic advantage over other airlines was tied to their ability to achieve significantly lower prices due to the homogeneous fleet of 737s."

“The big question is whether the passengers who fly no frills are looking for things like WestJet's inflight ambiance or are buying solely on price," he adds. "If the latter, WestJet will need to offset the higher cost of their hospitality with other cost saving moves: you cannot have the lowest price unless you either have the lowest costs or are willing to operate with lower margins than the competition.”

Professor Wong is the Distinguished Professor of Marketing at the Smith School of Business. Please note Professor Wong is only available by phone.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) or Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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