Westjet regional selects Q400
WestJet Airlines Ltd. said Tuesday it had decided to use a fleet of Bombardier’s Q400 turboprop for its new regional carrier, which it hopes to have off the ground in the second half of 2013.
The news comes as the Calgary-based carrier delivered a record first-quarter result that also blew past analysts’ expectations.
WestJet had been deliberating between a fleet of Q400s and a European-built turboprop, the ATR-72, for the hotly contested regional contract. But the Q400 was widely considered the favorite with both Air Canada’s regional affiliate, Chorus Aviation, and Porter Airlines using the fuel-efficient aircraft in their own fleets.
“We are very impressed with the Q400,” said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet chief executive, 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.”
The initial order will be for 20 Q400s with the option to purchase another 25 aircraft. WestJet said it expects to announce its initial regional schedule later in 2012