WestJet Q400 Order Goes Firm

 - September 3, 2012, 5:45 AM

Calgary-based low-fare airline WestJet last month converted a conditional order for 20 Bombardier Q400s to firm status. In the process, it secured options on another 25 of the turboprops, potentially raising the value of the order to $1.59 billion based on list prices.

Expected to launch a new regional airline in the second half of next year, WestJet continues to work on a six-year plan for regional service to and from various points across Canada. Its route network of more than 70 destinations now includes hubs in Calgary and Toronto, as well as so-called focus cities of Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Bombardier announced on May 1 it had signed a letter of intent with WestJet covering up to 45 Q400s and on June 28 a conditional order. Negotiations began before Bombardier flew a 78-seat Q400 from Toronto to WestJet’s headquarters in Calgary in March to give the airline’s employees a first-hand look at the airplane.