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WestJet and DEW Engineering Introduce New Dual Boarding Bridge.

CALGARY, AB -- CALGARY, AB, April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- WestJet and DEW Engineering celebrated the introduction of an innovative new product today, and the first of its kind in Canada. A dual boarding bridge, also known as an over-the-wing bridge, is the first of its kind built in North America, and is now operational at the Calgary International Airport. This bridge permits faster boarding and deplaning of guests by allowing them to enter and exit the aircraft from both the forward and aft doors directly from the airport terminal.

Wallace Roueche, President of DEW, said today: "We've sold passenger boarding bridges to 47 airports throughout North America, but this was an opportunity to develop a new type of bridge that extends over the wing of an aircraft to the door at the back. We designed, built and installed a working system at WestJet's base of operations in Calgary.

"The over-the-wing bridge is equipped with a multitude of advanced sensors to detect the position of the aircraft. The bridge is docked to the rear door of the aircraft in about 60 seconds from activation."

Don Bell, WestJet's Senior Vice President, Customer Service said today: "This is great for a WestJet guest experience, as it lets someone from the back of an aircraft be one of the first off instead of one of the last. By loading through both the front and back doors, we reduce the time guests have to wait to get on and off our aircraft. It's also part of our innovative, low- cost philosophy where we continue to use new technology to help improve the experience of our guests and the underlying profitability. By getting our guests on and off the aircraft quicker, we help maximize the number of flights per day for our aircraft."

WestJet serves the 26 Canadian cities of Victoria, Comox, Vancouver, Abbotsford/Fraser Valley, Prince George, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Windsor, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Moncton, Halifax, St. John's (beginning June 16) and Gander (beginning June 17). WestJet is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WJA.

DEW Engineering and Development Limited was federally incorporated in 1978 to provide a vehicle systems engineering and manufacturing capability for government agencies and aerospace companies. DEW Engineering, through their Dewbridge Airport Systems division, is the only manufacturer of airport passenger boarding bridges in Canada. Today, DEW is a growth-oriented engineering and manufacturing company employing more than 400 people in Ottawa ON, Miramichi, NB and Ogdensburg NY. DEW is registered ISO 9001.

Dual Boarding Bridge - Backgrounder

The dual boarding bridge recently installed for WestJet at the Calgary International Airport is the first of its kind built in North America. This bridge permits boarding and deplaning of guests from both the forward and aft doors, directly from the airport terminal.

WestJet approached DEW Engineering and Development Limited of Ottawa in 2001 to determine their interest in developing a dual boarding bridge. DEW Engineering, through their Dewbridge Airport Systems division, is the only manufacturer of Airport Passenger Boarding Bridges in Canada, and was quick to respond with a proposal. Though DEW has sold Passenger Boarding Bridges to 47 airports throughout the US and Canada, this was an opportunity to develop a new type of bridge that extends over the wing of an aircraft to the door at the back. The offer was accepted and DEW Engineering designed, built and installed a working system at WestJet's base of operations in Calgary.

DEW designed, developed, tested and installed the bridge at their Ottawa manufacturing plant before shipping the complete system to Calgary where it was installed at Gate D40 in the recently opened D Concourse at the Calgary International Airport. Because the bridge extends over the wing of an aircraft, DEW had to ensure that the design was fail-safe, yet able to be operated by a single person from the cab of the bridge that's used to mate to the front door. They designed a fully automated control system, able to sense the location of the aircraft and mate with the rear door. They even purchased a full wing from a surplus Boeing 737 and set it up on a fixture that included a working rear door and rear stabilizer to test and calibrate the system prior to shipping.

The over-the-wing bridge will operate with the most common narrow-body aircraft, the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 family. These aircraft are the choice of low-fare carriers such as WestJet, who fly exclusively Boeing 737s. The business model for these airlines includes a single common fleet of aircraft and relies on quick turnarounds at airport gates to maximize the number of flights per day. These airlines fly point-to-point and the maximum advantage is realized with over-the-wing bridges installed at each airport between city pairs.

The over-the-wing bridge is equipped with a multitude of advanced sensors to detect the position of the aircraft. From the time the operator presses the button in the control console, the bridge is docked to the rear door of the aircraft in about 60 seconds. The bridge is designed to accommodate aircraft with recently developed winglet kits, available from Boeing. These winglets extend eight feet above the wing tip and required the development of a pivoting joint in the centre of the bridge that allows the bridge to be lifted more than 20 feet above the apron.

DEW Engineering and Development Limited was federally incorporated in 1978 to provide a vehicle systems engineering and manufacturing capability for government agencies and aerospace companies. Today, DEW is a growth-oriented engineering and manufacturing company employing more than 400 people in Ottawa ON, Miramichi NB and Ogdensburg NY. DEW is registered ISO 9001.

CONTACT: Neil Hutton, DEW Engineering and Development Ltd., Vice President, Business Development, Telephone: (613) 736-5100 Ext 115, Facsimile: (613) 736-0068, Email: nhutton@dewbridge.com, Website: http://www.dewbridge.com/; Siobhan Vinish, WestJet, Director, Public Relations and Communications, Telephone: (403) 444-2615, Facsimile: (403) 444-2261, Email: svinish@westjet.com, Website: http://www.westjet.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Apr 23, 2003
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