WestJet sees big lift from 'premium economy' seats

Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:43pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

* Airline to offer 'premium economy' seats next year

* Could drive $150 million revenue gain, CEO says

* WestJet to test new in-flight entertainment system

TORONTO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - WestJet Airlines Ltd expects a multi-million dollar lift from its new "premium economy" seating, and is planning a new in-flight entertainment system that will reduce costs, the chief executive of Canada's second-largest airline said on Tuesday.

The new screenless entertainment system, to be tested next year, would let travelers hook up their own device to access Internet content along with live and taped television, movies and music, CEO Gregg Saretsky said at a Scotiabank transportation conference.

"If it all works, we can remove the seat back (screens), you bring your own tablet or iPad or computer or smartphone and we will beam the content to your device," he said in a webcast presentation.

The shift would remove about 1,200 pounds from each aircraft and cut fuel costs, he said.

WestJet has not yet determined if it will charge for content offered through travelers' own devices, and whether it will use ground towers or satellites to support the entertainment system.

With plans to introduce premium economy seating next year, Calgary, Alberta-based WestJet is shifting from its roots as a low-cost rival to bigger Air Canada.   Continued...