WestJet Holds Hackathon

More than 100 members of the tech industry from 17 companies came to Calgary for WestJet’s inaugural #hackinthehangar Challenge. Teams were challenged to create and build world-class digital solutions focused on WestJet’s premium and global travelers.

“The #hackinthehangar is focused on building digital solutions in a collaborative and fun environment, in a unique venue at a much greater velocity than ever before,” said Alfredo C. Tan, WestJet’s chief digital and innovation officer.  “This hackathon is an exciting step towards helping us think, move and act more like a tech company in some key parts of our business. This will help position WestJet as an industry leader in transforming the guest experience. Bringing this level of creative talent from some of the most innovative companies in the world to Calgary at this scale is incredibly unique. We’re looking forward to seeing what some of the brightest minds in tech combined with our passionate employees and guests can create when given the opportunity to rise to the challenge and work together to win.”

Attendees flew in to participate in the first-ever #hackinthehangar. They came from across North America and included teams from Adobe, Amazon, Deloitte Digital, Facebook, Google, Hootsuite, Huge Inc., IBM, LinkedIn, Media Experts/IPG, Microsoft, Panasonic Avionics, Sabre, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Snapchat and Twitter. Each team was complemented by two WestJet employees and a premium guest traveler.

The hackathon concept, made popular in Silicon Valley, is a sprint-like event that computer programmers and software developers used to collaborate and create solutions in a short amount of time. Now inclusive of all areas of business, they also serve to create a fun and collaborative environment for people to come together to try out new ideas and build prototypes at a greater velocity than normal. Hackathons are about approaching things with a philosophy around continuous improvement with no finish line. This type of thinking is embedded deep in the culture of companies like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Adobe and Google.

WestJet says its goal is to drive towards becoming a global airline the introduction of their Boeiong 787-9 Dreamliner. The company will operate an average of 777 daily flights to 90 destinations. The airline recently made its first foray to the European mainland by launching daily direct flights between Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) last month.

WestJet’s  inaugural Hackathon happened on Monday, June 18 at their Russ White Hangar.