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WestJet & Encore discloses 2018 fleet plans

WestJet & Encore discloses 2018 fleet plans

2018 02 11

2018 02 11

During 2017, WestJet took delivery of a total of nine Q400s to end the year with a total of 43 Q400s. The carrier also added two B737-800 series aircraft and four Boeing MAX aircraft to end the year with a total of 120 Boeing narrow-body aircraft. Additionally, the carrier executed lease extensions on a total of 11 aircraft leases scheduled to expire in 2017 and 2018, for periods ranging from an additional 14 months to six years. Subsequent to the end of the year, the airline executed a lease extension for one Boeing 737-700 aircraft for an additional four years, returned one leased Boeing 737-700 aircraft and signed a LOI to lease two Q400 aircraft, with expected delivery in 2018, for terms of eight years each.

As the fleet, including the future deliveries of Boeing MAX and Boeing 787 aircraft, continues to expand, WestJet expects to establish additional profitable routes in Canada, the US and internationally. The carrier's evolving aircraft mix allows us to provide increased route frequency, increased non-stop routes and improved scheduling times and connectivity to its guests.

On May 1, 2017, WestJet entered into a definitive purchase agreement with Boeing for up to 20 B787s. The purchase agreement includes commitments for 10 B787s to be delivered between the first quarter of 2019 and December 2021, with options for an additional 10 aircraft to be delivered between 2020 and 2024. With the delivery of these new aircraft, WestJet will have the ability to serve new destinations, such as Asia and South America, as well as expanding our service offerings to additional European destinations.

In preparation for the delivery of its Boeing 787 aircraft, WestJet has commenced the construction of a 125,000 square foot, eight story hangar in Calgary which will accommodate up to four Boeing 737 NG aircraft, or one Boeing 787 aircraft, in addition to our current Calgary hangar capacity. Construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2019.

New LCC, Swoop, continues to progress towards operational readiness in anticipation of the first flight in June 2018, utilizing a single fleet-type of Boeing 737-800s with high utilization, high density seating, and a highly efficient and productive workforce. Subject to regulatory approval, Swoop will expand outside of Canada later this year and could grow to a fleet of as many as 30 to 40 aircraft.

Swoop will start with three aircraft, with six aircraft flying by September and all 10 by spring 2019.

The following table illustrates its Boeing narrow-body, Boeing wide-body and Bombardier fleet as at December 31, 2017 and 2016 as well as our firm commitments through to 2027.

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