WestJet Selects Q400 for New Regional Airline

Canadian carrier WestJet has this week announced that it has selected Fellow Canadian company Bombardier Aerospace to supply aircraft for its new regional airline, which expected to launch in the second half of 2013.  The carrier has signed a letter of intent to purchase 20 Dash 8-Q400 NextGen aircraft with the option to purchase a further 25 aircraft and is expected to announce its initial regional schedule using the turboprops later this year.

WestJet says it will fly the aircraft to new cities, existing destinations not currently connected by WestJet, and will allow for schedule improvements on certain routes where a smaller aircraft can efficiently provide greater frequency.

"We are very impressed with the Q400," commented Gregg Saretsky, President and Chief Executive Officer, WestJet.  "Both ATR and Bombardier put forward excellent proposals and ultimately we believe the Bombardier Q400's combination of range, speed and seat density is the best choice to meet the needs of the market and how we plan to operate the regional airline."

The announcement was made as the Canadian carrier announced record first quarter net earnings of $68.3 million, or $0.49 per diluted share; up from the net earnings of $48.2 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, reported in the first quarter of 2011.  This represents WestJet's 28th consecutive quarter of profitability.