Bombardier Aerospace and WestJet on June 6 announced the delivery of the first of 20 Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners ordered by WestJet. 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 24, 2013, opening new routes to Fort St. John and Nanaimo, British Columbia, as well as Brandon, Manitoba, on September 3, 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.
On June 6, Bombardier Aerospace hosted a special delivery ceremony in Toronto alongside more than 100 WestJetters, including Gregg Saretsky, President and Chief Executive Officer, WestJet and Ferio Pugliese, President, WestJet Encore, and Executive Vice-President, WestJet. Also on site in Toronto, where the Q400 NextGen airliners are manufactured, were Mike Arcamone, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, Simon Roberts, Vice-President and General Manager, Turboprop Programs and the Toronto Site, Bombardier Aerospace and guests from the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
“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,” Pugliese said. “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.”
“It was a delight to see the Q400 NextGen turboprop unveiled in WestJet’s iconic colours today as WestJet Encore now officially kicks off its Q400 aircraft’s western-Canada migration,” said Mike Arcamone, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “WestJet has enjoyed remarkable growth since its inception, and as a productivity machine, our made-in-Canada Q400 NextGen aircraft is well equipped to support that tradition and to meet the needs of both this great Canadian airline and its guests. This very versatile aircraft is efficient on short-haul missions or can use its speed to reach regional destinations farther afield, making it competitive with jets on longer sectors — a perfect fit for WestJet.”
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.
Bombardier has booked firm orders for 468 Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft. Worldwide, Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft have transported more than 243 million passengers and have logged over 4.2 million flight hours and more than 4.5 million take-offs and landings in service with close to 50 operators in over 30 countries on five continents.