"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
From the Inside Flap
Way to go!
At a time when so many airlines around the world were crashing and burning, four partners seemed to be taking a mad risk in launching a new, low-cost carrier in Canada. WestJet was born on February 29, 1996, and has ever since managed to soar above the clouds of doom that have gathered around the turbulent airline industry.
How do they do it? How do the people of WestJet continue to make their company one of the most successful start-ups in airline history? Flight Path tells the amazing success story of the little airline that could, and of all the remarkable people who work there, who have kept the Canadian carrier profitable and expansive, quarter after quarter.
Not just the shrewd and entrepreneurial Clive Beddoe and his three co-founders (known as the Big Shots), but all the four thousand employees who know that this is their airline because they own a piece of it, through generous profit-sharing and share-purchase plans that have made many of them millionaires.
But this incredible journey has not always been a smooth one. WestJet has faced its share of crippling crises in its short history: a complete grounding for seventeen days, just six months into operation; the aftermath of September 11, 2001, that devastated the airline industry; and the fallout from SARS and international conflict, that sent the airline business spiraling further downward. Through it all, WestJet has spread its wings as an astonishingly successful, against-all-odds airline.
In this lively, behind-the-scenes chronicle, veteran business author Paul Grescoe records the rollicking story of WestJet’s first eight extraordinary years. He reveals the enlightened corporate culture and management practices of this employee-first enterprise, and he shows by example how people in other industries can emulate its success.