Premium economy reconfiguration on WestJet fleet progresses

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Maintenance work to modify WestJet's Boeing 737 fleet with premium economy seating is "well underway", says Kelowna Flightcraft, the British Columbia, Canada-based MRO firm responsible for outfitting the aircraft.

The MRO is forecasting a mid-March completion date to wrap up seating changes throughout the fleet.

"We are anticipating wrapping it up in the next eight weeks," says Kelowna Flightcraft.

The MRO has completed more than 40 Boeing 737s out of the 100 in WestJet's fleet. It typically works on two aircraft at a time in its hangar but has worked on as many as three simultaneously. Kelowna first announced the deal with WestJet on 19 November.

Turn times for the installations typically range between 48 and 72 hours depending on the aircraft variant.

Kelowna has already modified a number of the Boeing 737-600 and 700 models. Now it is focusing largely on the -800 modifications, which feature the premium economy configurations as well as eight additional economy seats.

On 7 November, WestJet told investors it had pushed the completion date for the seat reconfiguration project from the end of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013 after a delay in receiving regulatory approvals for the seats.

Transport Canada confirms it has now approved the seating configuration for WestJet's entire fleet.

In addition to the premium economy project, Kelowna also provides structural maintenance visits for about 24 WestJet aircraft per year under a three-year agreement finalised in June.