September 22, 2005 21:20 ET

WestJet Aircraft and Crew Participates in Hurricane Rita Rescue and Evacuation Operation

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 22, 2005) - WestJet (TSX:WJA), Canada's leading low-cost airline, announced today that it has been contracted to airlift evacuees in the path of Hurricane Rita to safety. The evacuated citizens will be flown from Houston, Texas to designated U.S. cities as directed by American authorities.

WestJet was first contacted by LeBas International Air Charter Worldwide on behalf of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at approximately noon MDT. The airline had an aircraft in the air and on its way to Houston four hours later.

For this operation, WestJet is utilizing one of its Boeing Next-Generation 737-700 series aircraft, crewed by 13 WestJet employees consisting of pilots, first officers, flight attendants and maintenance personnel. WestJet's part in this rescue and evacuation process may last as long as five days. The aircraft and crew left Calgary, Alberta for Houston at 4:00 p.m. MDT.

"WestJet is proud to be able to assist LeBas International and FEMA in this important rescue and evacuation operation," said Sean Durfy, Executive Vice-President of Sales and Marketing. "WestJet is committed to doing its part to keep the people of Houston safe."

Modeled after Southwest Airlines in the United States, WestJet is Canada's leading low-cost airline offering scheduled service throughout its 34-city North American network. Named Canada's most respected corporation for customer service in 2005, WestJet pioneered low-cost high-value flying in Canada. With increased legroom and leather seats on its modern fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, and live seatback television provided by Bell ExpressVu on its 737-700 fleet, WestJet strives to be the number one choice for travellers.

Contact Information

  • WestJet
    Media Relations:
    Gillian Bentley
    (403) 444-2615
    Website: www.westjet.com