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WestJet named best low-cost airline in North America

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WestJet Airlines Ltd. has been named the best low-cost airline in the Americas by AirlineRatings.com for the second year in a row.

The Australian-based aviation safety and product website gave WestJet the title on Tuesday as part of its annual Airline Excellence Awards.

“WestJet is a carrier that has established a reputation for flair, humour and community engagement,” AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas said in an online post. 

“WestJet has again brought top-class travel to North America. In addition to connecting markets and economies, WestJet brings together millions of people as never before.”

The annual awards are judged by seven editors focusing on 12 categories, including fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, product offering and staff relations, among others.

WestJet’s chief executive Ed Sims said in a statement that the company was “pleased and honoured” to to be receiving the award.

“Being recognized by airlineratings.com ahead of our domestic roll out of our Boeing 737-8 MAX and 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft is a feat worth celebrating,” he said in a news release.

Wizz Air was named best low-cost airline in Europe, while Air Asia won the title for the Asia Pacific region.

Although WestJet was recognized for being the top low-cost carrier in the Americas, no Canadian airline managed crack the top 10 airlines in the world. Singapore Airlines claimed the distinction of the world’s best airline this year, nudging out Air New Zealand, Qantas Airways and Qatar Airways, in part because of its impressive suite products that are the size of small hotel rooms.

The distinction comes at a time when WestJet is shifting part of its focus on capturing a bigger chunk of the premium market. The airline is in the midst of launching a widebody expansion project with the purchase of at least 10 Boeing Dreamliners and new direct transatlantic flights.

“There is no question WestJet is an airline that is going places, particularly into the premium end of the market,” Thomas wrote.

Still, the ambitious strategy has yet to pay off. While the company returned to profitability in the third quarter, Sims said in late October that the results were “nowhere near where we believe our business could and should perform.”

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