One of Canada's leading airlines, WestJet has entered into what it calls 'the global era' with the arrival of the carriers first widebody Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The aircraft has been named in honour of the airline's chairman and founder, Clive Beddoe and will be based at the airline's hometown base of Calgary.

"Today's delivery marks a new chapter for WestJet," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. "Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is one of the most technologically advanced aircraft ever flown and is the perfect platform for our transition to a global network carrier. We look forward to bringing Canadians to the world and the world to Canada in comfort and style."

"We are excited to welcome our friends at WestJet to the Dreamliner family," said Ihssane Mounir, Senior Vice-President of Commercial Sales & Marketing for The Boeing Company. "The airline has achieved impressive growth with the Boeing 737 and will now use the 787's unmatched performance and passenger comforts to profitably launch a new 'global era'."

The aircraft departed Everett, Washington this morning after a naming ceremony in the presence Mr. Beddoe, members of the WestJet executive team and select WestJet staff that the carrier calls 'WestJetters'. "Because of the leadership, vision and commitment of our Founder and Chairman, Clive, we had the opportunity to fly our Dreamliner home today," continued Sims. "It's fitting the aircraft bears our founder's name as we welcome the future of WestJet."

WestJet will use its 320-seat Dreamliner to begin longer-range flying while giving guests a choice of Economy, Premium and Business cabins. WestJet's Dreamliners feature WestJet's first lie-flat business cabin seats accompanied by luxurious blankets and pillows, turndown service and in-seat TVs, offering a premium service with a distinctly Canadian feel. WestJet Premium will offer seats in a 2x3x2 configuration, an elevated guest experience with a separate and private cabin, cozy blankets and pillows available on every seat along with a self-serve social area.

The first Dreamliner will fly guests domestically on Toronto (YYZ) /Calgary (YYC) routes starting February 20 to assist with crew familiarisation before the first international service from Calgary to London Gatwick (LGW) on April 28th.

The second and third WestJet Dreamliners are currently on the production line at Boeing's factory and will be delivered in February and March this year to coincide with the start of Calgary (YYC) -Paris (CDG) and Calgary (YYC) -Dublin (DUB) services respectively.

In preparation for its new Dreamliners, WestJet recently added digital solutions powered by Boeing AnalytX, to optimize its operations. These include Aeroplane Health Management, which provides predictive analytics to optimise WestJet's 787 fleet operations, as well as Toolbox, which delivers real-time information for technicians to quickly resolve maintenance issues and keep airlines on schedule. The aircraft also features the Boeing-designed turbulence-dampening technology, improved air quality to reduce jetlag and larger windows that give an increased sense of space.

WestJet now seems ready to take on the legacy national carrier, Air Canada on a more equal footing, with the arrival of the technologically advanced 787 Dreamliner long-haul widebody aircraft, now the carrier can compete with its bigger rival on the longer transatlantic routes and give the national carrier a run for its money.