Bombardier Aerospace and WestJet have announced the delivery of the first of 20 Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners ordered by the airline.
The aircraft will be operated by the new regional carrier, WestJet Encore and will serve multiple destinations, beginning in Western Canada in its first year of service.
WestJet also holds options for 25 additional Q400 NextGen aircraft.
Earlier this year, WestJet announced plans to begin service with Encore on June 24th, 2013, opening new routes to Fort St. John and Nanaimo, British Columbia, as well as Brandon, Manitoba, on September 3rd, 2013.
Flights to points in Alberta and Saskatchewan are to be added later this year, along with additional flights to cities already served by WestJet.
”WestJetters have been looking forward to this moment since the Q400 NextGen demo aircraft touched down in Calgary for the first time last year.
“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,” Ferio Pugliese, president, WestJet Encore.
“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 began operations in 1996 with 220 employees, three jets and five destinations.
Today the airline has more than 9,000 employees, over 103 aircraft and serves 86 destinations in North and Central America and the Caribbean.