WestJet shows its shiny new Boeing 737 MAX, avoids taking sides in Bombardier dust-up

WestJet gave a show-and-tell of its new Boeing 737 MAX in Calgary on Wednesday but stopped short of weighing in on the Boeing-Bombardier cross-border dispute.

The 737 MAX is superior in a handful of ways, WestJet executive vice president commercial Ed Sims said.

Overhead bins have been redesigned, they open a different way now to accommodate up to 60 more pieces of carry-on luggage.

"They are larger and can accommodate more bags because you carry-on bag now goes vertically rather than flat, horizontally," Sims explained.

"It flies further, it flies quieter, it flies with more seats, it flies more fuel-efficiently than any Boeing narrow-bodied aircraft we have ordered to date."

He says it's 14 per cent more fuel efficient and 40 per cent quieter.

"You will find the mood-lighting interiors, the cabin space, the bag space, the headroom, the whole look and feel of the aircraft is fundamentally more like an ultra long-haul aircraft than a conventional narrow-bodied aircraft," Sims said.

He was cautious, however, to avoid weighing in on the recent potential trade dispute involving U.S.-based Boeing and Montreal-based Bombardier.

Last week the Trump administration proposed preliminary duties and tariffs on Bombardier's CSeries totally nearly 300 per cent. Boeing then launched a public relations push to demonstrate its value to Canada. It's all part of NAFTA talks between the U.S. and Canada.

"We are the third largest Bombardier customer in the world and we are a very substantial Boeing customer. We have 100 Boeing aircraft, 50 Bombardier aircraft. We are strong friends and partners of both," Sims said.

"We want to do the best thing by our 20 million WestJet guests so we have to make sure we maintain really strong relationships with both groups. We are doing everything that we can to make sure that they can resolve the current dispute between the two."

- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Snowfall warnings issued for Banff, Canmore and Kananaskis

- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Settled $2.2M lawsuit from 2010 alleged Bill Smith failed in duty as 'reasonably competent solicitor'