Flight Path:How WestJet Is Flying High in Canada'sMost Turbulent Industry
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More About This Title Flight Path:How WestJet Is Flying High in Canada'sMost Turbulent Industry


At a time when airlines across North America and around the world are facing crisis after crisis, and many collapsing into bankruptcy, WestJet has become Canada's most successful airline and one of the two most profitable carriers in North America.

WestJet got off the ground in 1996, with three aircraft and 220 employees serving just five western Canadian cities. Today, the company is soaring to new heights, with more than 6 million 'guests'; traveling on 44 planes, and WestJet's over 3,700 people providing service to 26 destinations.

Flight Path is the first book to chronicle the amazing success story of Canada's leading low-fare airline. It offers a detailed look at WestJet's path to success and holds valuable lessons for any business reader: the empowering corporate philosophy and people-first culture; the low-cost structure that drives profitability; the passion for customer service that puts the fun back into flying; the focus on technology innovations; and the unwavering commitment to providing safe, friendly, and affordable air travel.


Paul Grescoe has been chronicling Western Canadian entrepreneurs for decades—from the legendary Vancouver billionaire Jim Pattison (Jimmy) to the Winnipeg couple who founded the Harlequin romance empire (The Merchants of Venus). With his wife, Audrey, he is also a compiler of three recent volumes of private correspondence that illuminate Canadian history. The Grescoes live on Bowen Island, a world away from the rest of British Columbia.




Graduation Day.

1. Win Your Wings from the Ground Up.

The guys behind WestJet.

2. Prepare for Takeoff.

Doing due diligence.

3. Find Good Flight Instructors.

Mentors and advisors.

4. Bring Everybody on Board.

Profit-sharing and share-purchase plans.

5. Follow Your Own Flight Plan.

Controlling destiny during early disasters.

6. Build a Fail-Safe into the Flight Plan.

Giving employees a voice.

7. Question Your Pilot.

Managing executive mistakes.

8. Fly in Close Formation.

True teamwork within and without.

9. Learn to Land on One Engine.

Productivity and empowerment in the workplace.

10. Know When to Spread Your Wings.

Going public, expanding, competing.

11. Have a Fun Flight.

Pleasing customers—and employees.


Flying into the future.

A Brief History of WestJet Airlines.




"A masterpiece of reporting the most exciting business story of the past fifty years. Clive Beddoe’s seventeen-day voluntary shutdown pitted corporate integrity against bureaucratic hypocrisy, and the finesse with which PACT was born for the good of all concerned—employees, customers, management and shareholders—was pure artistry."
—M. Lamar Muse, Founding President and CEO of Southwest Airlines, and author of Southwest Passage: The Inside Story of Southwest Airlines’ Formative Years

"Flight Path is a wonderful, lively account of the airline that ‘could’ and ‘did.’ Grescoe’s well crafted prose weaves a tale of how core values of employee commitment, empowerment, and entrepreneurship were not only the founding principles, but also the basis for continued business success.
The book is a great read for those who want to understand how to start and manage a business, any business; it should be required reading for students of entrepreneurship, human resources, strategy, and marketing. WestJet is about people and Flight Path captures the essence of WestJet."
—Dr. David Gillen, Professor of Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Author of The Future of Canadian Aviation: Frills, No-Frills or WalMart

"Flight Path is the inside story of a legend—a tale of entrepreneurship and of risk taking. WestJet has been wildly successful because four men had the courage to do the right thing and to believe in people in an industry where bureaucracy and the bottom line have long been king. WestJet has proven that caring for people breeds the ultimate success."
—Barbara A. Glanz, Professional speaker and author of Handle With CARE: Motivating and Retaining Employees and CARE Packages for the Workplace: Dozens of Little Things You Can Do to Regenerate Spirit at Work