Bombardier Aerospace has delivered the first of 20 Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners ordered by WestJet for its new regional carrier, WestJet Encore.
In WestJet Encore service, the Bombardier Q400 NextGen will serve multiple destinations, beginning in Western Canada, in its first year of service. WestJet also holds options for 25 additional Q400 NextGen turboprops.
Earlier this year, WestJet announced plans to begin service with Encore on June 24, opening new routes to Fort St. John and Nanaimo in British Columbia, as well as Brandon in Manitoba on September 3. Flights to points in Alberta and Saskatchewan are to be added later this year, along with additional flights to cities already served by WestJet.
Bombardier Aerospace hosted a special delivery ceremony on June 6 in Toronto alongside more than 100 WestJetters, including Gregg Saretsky, WestJet’s president and chief executive officer and Ferio Pugliese, president of WestJet Encore and executive vice-president of WestJet.
Also on site at Downsview Airport in Toronto, where the Bombardier Q400 NextGen airliner is manufactured, were Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft; Simon Roberts, vice-president and general manager, turboprop programs and the Toronto Site for Bombardier Aerospace; and guests from Canada’s federal, provincial and municipal governments.
“WestJetters have been looking forward to this moment since the Q400 NextGen demo aircraft touched down in Calgary for the first time last year,” said Pugliese. “Today, we are thrilled that this great Canadian turboprop will be the backbone of WestJet Encore’s operations, servicing new destinations and effectively connecting more cities.”
Pugliese added: “With an unmatched balance of speed, comfort, cost efficiencies and highly regarded environmental qualities, the Q400 NextGen aircraft will also allow us to operate more efficiently as we enhance service on more routes. This versatility opens up many new possibilities and options for Canadians, as well as increases the frequency of flights to better serve travellers.”
“WestJet has enjoyed remarkable growth since its inception, and as a productivity machine, our made-in-Canada Q400 NextGen aircraft is well equipped to support that tradition and to meet the needs of both this great Canadian airline and its guests,” said Arcamone. “This very versatile aircraft is efficient on short-haul missions or can use its speed to reach regional destinations farther afield, making it competitive with jets on longer sectors ‒ a perfect fit for WestJet.”
WestJet began operations in 1996 with 220 employees, three jets and five destinations. Today the airline has more than 9,000 employees and more than 100 aircraft and serves 86 destinations in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Bombardier has booked firm orders for 468 Q400 and Q400 NextGen turboprops.
Worldwide, Q400 and Q400 NextGens have transported more than 243 million passengers and have logged over 4.2 million flight hours and more than 4.5 million take-offs and landings in service with close to 50 operators in over 30 countries on five continents.