WestJet has signed a letter of intent to purchase 20 Q400 NextGen turboprops, with the option to purchase a further 25. The airline expects...

Canadian carrier WestJet has selected Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. to supply up to 45 Q400 NextGen aircraft for its new regional airline, which Westjet expects to launch in the second half of 2013.

The airline will fly the Bombardier Q400 NextGen to new destinations, as well as existing destinations not currently connected in WestJet’s route network.

On May 1, 2012, Calgary-based Westjet announced it had selected the Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop as its fleet choice for the new regional airline subsidiary it planned to launch. Westjet signed a letter of intent to order 20 Q400 NextGen turboprops and option 25 more

According to Bombardier, the Bombardier Q400 NextGen will also allow Westjet to offer schedule improvements on certain existing routes where a smaller aircraft can efficiently provide greater frequency.

“We are very impressed with the Q400,” says Gregg Saretsky, WestJet president and CEO. “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. We look forward to working with another great Canadian company.”

“This is a very proud day for Bombardier,” says Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “We are thrilled that WestJet has selected the Q400 NextGen aircraft for its fleet expansion requirements.”

According to Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, the Q400 NextGen turboprop is particularly suited to operations in the robust Canadian and U.S. landscape, where temperatures and climatic conditions can display extreme variation, sometimes within a short period of time

Adds Arcamone: “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 has signed a letter of intent to purchase 20 Q400 NextGens, with the option to purchase a further 25. The airline expects to announce its initial regional schedule using the Q400 NextGens later in 2012.

Calgary-based WestJet offers scheduled service throughout a 76-city North American and Caribbean network. WestJet operates a fleet of 98 Boeing 737NGs and has future confirmed deliveries for an additional 37 aircraft through 2018.

WestJet’s publicly stated goal is to be one of the five most successful international airlines in the world.