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May 3, 2012

WestJet Orders 45 Bombardier Q400 Turboprops for New Regional Airline

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Rendering of a WestJet Bombardier Dash 8 Q400. (Image by Bombardier)

Canada’s WestJet announced this week that they had signed a letter of intent to buy up to 45 Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprop aircraft to launch a new regional airline.

The firm portion of the order will consist of 20 Q400s, plus an option to purchase an additional 25 aircraft. Deliveries of all 45 aircraft would be stretched over the next six years.

Calgary-based WestJet plans to serve new cities with the regional airline beginning in 2013, but has not yet mentioned which ones. An initial schedule will be announced later this year, the airline said. The new regional has not yet been named.

The order marks a major victory for Bombardier, which has been struggling for sales in recent years against rival ATR.

“We are very impressed with the Q400,” said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO, in a statement. “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.”

Saretzky added, “We look forward to working with another great Canadian company,” referring to Bombardier’s base in Quebec.

“This is a very proud day for Bombardier,” said Mike Arcamone, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “We are thrilled that WestJet has selected the Q400 NextGen aircraft for its fleet expansion requirements. The Q400 NextGen aircraft has long been recognized as the turboprop best suited to perform in the robust Canadian and U.S. landscape and environments. Our new-generation turboprop aircraft fits perfectly into this iconic Canadian airline’s brand and we are pleased to welcome WestJetters and their guests to our Bombardier family.”

WestJet currently operates a fleet of 98 Boeing 737 jets, with 37 more due for delivery by 2018.

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