Begun in 1996 by Clive Beddoe, Mark Hill, Tim Morgan and Donald Bell, WestJet tried to follow the same path as Southwest Airlines and Morris Air, a low-cost carrier. Morris Air went bankrupt shortly after WestJet was created, however.
February 29, 1996 was the first time a WestJet Boeing 737 jet took off to the skies. At that time, the airline served Winnipeg, Manitoba, Kelowna, British Columbia, Calgary, Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta and Vancouver, British Columbia. By 1997, they had included Victoria, Regina and Saskatoon to that list of cities, and in 1997 also, Abbottsford became a WestJet city.
In 1999 a milestone was reached when WestJet was able to offer its first public sharing at 2.5 million shares, and in 2000, the airline expanded to Canada's eastern region, reaching Hamilton, Moncton and Ottawa, and choosing Hamilton as the airline's eastern region hub. That year, Beddoe, Hill, Morgan and Bell were given the Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year award in Canada because of their contribution to the Canadian airline industry. In 2001, expansion continued, to include Fort McMurray, Comox, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thompson and Brandon. The airline's four creators also received another entrepreneur award, the newest one being given in Monaco. In 2002 the airline added two new eastern Canadian destinations, the cities of London (Canada) and Toronto. In April, 2003, Westjet added Windsor as a destination. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Moncton, New Brunswick, St. John's, Newfoundland, and Gander, Newfoundland have also been added as destinations.
The airline still flies a fleet that consists exclusively of Boeing 737's.
Official WestJet Website: http://www.westjet.ca