Calgary-based WestJet has signed a conditional order for 20 Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprops, upping its commitment from the letter of intent to purchase the...

Calgary-based WestJet has signed a conditional order for 20 Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprops, upping its commitment from the letter of intent to purchase the aircraft that it signed on May 1.

The transaction also includes options on an additional 25 Bombardier Q400 NextGen regional airliners.

WestJet added another level of commitment to its expected order for Bombardier Q400 nextGen turboprops on June 28, 2012, when the Calgary-based airline turned its previous letter of intent for 20 aircraft into a conditional order for 20, and conditionally took options on 25 more

Based on list price, Bombardier values a firm order for 20 Q400 NextGen regional airliners at approximately US$683 million. WestJet’s potential firm order for Q400 NextGens could increase to approximately US$1.59 billion should the airline convert its 25 options to firm orders.

The announcement was made on June 28 in Calgary, where WestJet employees and their families were on hand for a close-up look at a Q400 NextGen on display at the airline’s Campus. Also in attendance were potential regional airport delegations from across the country and media representatives.

Earlier this year, an internal WestJet poll revealed that over 90 per cent of WestJet employees were in favour of launching a regional airline to serve more communities across Canada.

Set to begin operations in the second half of 2013, the regional airline is anticipated to serve regional airports throughout Canada that are currently considered under-served.

“We are delighted to welcome our friends from Bombardier to our campus today as well as representatives from the more than 30 airports across Canada hoping to have WestJet service in their communities in the future,” said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet’s president and CEO. “Our launch plans are progressing nicely and we look forward to expanding to new communities when we launch in the second half of 2013.”

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

“This is an exciting time for Bombardier and WestJetters alike. We’re equally keen to see how WestJet will adopt the Q400 NextGen aircraft into its unique operations and it’s a thrill to see the enthusiasm as the airline solicits feedback from the country’s regional airports and its guests,” said Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

“The Q400 NextGen aircraft’s superior economics, outstanding fuel economy and excellent passenger comfort give WestJet the flexibility to service a diverse number of routes and airports,” added Arcamone. “We look forward to the waiving of the order conditionality in the near future.”

As Canada’s second-largest carrier, WestJet provides scheduled and chartered air service in North America and the Caribbean.

Bombardier has booked firm orders for 428 Q400 and Q400 NextGen airliners and already-delivered aircraft are in service with approximately 40 operators in 30 countries, on six continents.

These aircraft have transported more than 177 million passengers and have logged more than 3.2 million flight hours and over 3.5 million take-offs and landings.