Calgary-based WestJet Encore Ltd., the regional-airline subsidiary of WestJet, has signed a firm order for five Bombardier Q400 NextGen regional airliners.
The deal represents a conversion of five of the 25 options booked by the carrier’s parent company WestJet and announced on August 1, 2012 along with WestJet’s firm order for 20 Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprops.
Based on the list price of the Bombardier Q400 NextGen, Bombardier Aerospace values the March 27 WestJet Encore order at approximately US$167 million.
“In just under one year, WestJet Encore has re-shaped the regional aircraft market in western Canada ‒ opening new destinations and feeding traffic to WestJet’s mainline network ‒ all on the strength of WestJetters and the Q400 NextGen aircraft,” says Gregg Saretsky, president and chief executive officer of WestJet.
“While the Q400 NextGen aircraft is well known for its efficiency on short-haul missions, we have also been able to leverage its jet-like speed to reach new destinations and connect cities further apart, and this will be instrumental as we look to expand Encore’s service offering to our guests in eastern Canada,” adds Saretsky.
WestJet Encore has introduced service to Fort St. John, Nanaimo and Terrace in British Columbia; and Brandon in Manitoba. It has also added turboprop service to WestJet’s existing western route network serving Winnipeg in Manitoba as well as Saskatoon and Regina in Saskatchewan.
Starting this spring, WestJet Encore will also operate services to Fort McMurray in Alberta; Kelowna in British Columbia; Winnipeg; and ‒ operating from a new hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport ‒ will provide service between Toronto and Thunder Bay in Ontario.
The Q400 NextGen regional airliner, which Bombardier builds at an assembly line at Downsview Airport in Toronto, is the most recent development in the evolution of the Q400 turboprop, an all-new design that entered service in 2000 to address the needs of the evolving market.
Optimized for short-haul operations, the Q400 is large, fast, quiet and fuel-efficient, according to Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. In its extra capacity configuration, which provides seats for up to 86 passengers, the Q400 NextGen provides up to a 17 per cent seat-cost advantage for operators.
Including WestJet’s latest order, Bombardier has recorded firm orders for a total of 491 Q400 and Q400 NextGen regional airliners.
Worldwide, Q400s and Q400 NextGens have transported more than 295 million passengers and have logged over 4.7 million flight hours and more than 5 million take-offs and landings. The Q400 and Q400 NextGen program includes more than 50 customers and operators in more than 30 countries on five continents.