Westjet Airlines

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52 • CASES IN ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR

revisited the vision statement. The upcoming weeks would be crucial because Matthew wondered if the still-nascent state of OP4.com 's culture at its Vancouver head office would survive this restructuring.

NOTE

1. Source: Jupiter Communications, 2000.

WESTjET AIRLINES (A): THE CULTURE
THAT BREEDS A PASSION To SuccEED
Prepared by Ken Mark under the supervision of Professor Gerard Seijts
Copyright© 2001, lvey Management Services

INTRODUCTION

It was April 17, 2001, and WestJet 's market capitalization had just surpassed that of Air
Canada 's, the country 's leading airline. "We 're in the hospitality business and our culture is everything to us," stated Don Bell, co-founder and senior vice-president
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In June 1996, the airline purchased its fourth
Boeing 737 aircraft and added service to the new market of Regina. In August that year, Saskatoon was added. In June 1997, Abbotsford-Fraser
Valley was added, making WestJet the only scheduled carrier to operate at that airport. March 1999 saw the addition of the two new destinations of
Thunder Bay and Prince George, and in September
1999, WestJet added Grande Prairie to its service area. WestJet met a major business goal when, in
July 1999, it completed its initial public offering of 2.5 million common shares. The share price

at closing was Cdn$1 0. It was an exciting day for all WestJetters, representing the achievement of a major goal and raising the necessary capital for expansion of the company in the coming years. The capital raised from the offering,
Cdn$25 million before post-closing adjustments, would be used for the purchase of additional aircraft, as well as the building of new head office and hangar facilities in Calgary, in order to meet the needs of the company 's expanding workforce.
In 1999, unprecedented changes and restructuring were seen in the airline industry in Canada
(e.g., plans for a merger between Canadian Airlines and Air Canada, small carriers that discovered
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