Bloomberg News

WestJet Considers Starting Short-Haul Regional Carrier Next Year

January 16, 2012

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- WestJet Airlines Ltd., Canada’s second-biggest carrier, said it may start a short-haul regional airline as early as next year to serve new cities and increase revenue.

The proposed carrier would use a fleet of about 40 turboprop planes, Calgary-based WestJet said today in a release. WestJet is meeting with employees this month to get their input on the project, Chief Executive Officer Gregg Saretsky said in the statement.

WestJet, which flies to 71 cities in North America and the Caribbean, operates a fleet of 97 Boeing Co. planes. The company plans to take delivery of another 38 aircraft through 2018.

“This would be the natural evolution of our airline,” Saretsky said. “Once our employees have had the opportunity to share their input, we will be in a better position to make a sound decision.”

Adding a regional airline would allow WestJet to fly to smaller cities, increase frequency and create new connections between existing destinations, Saretsky said. The company didn’t indicate which regions of the country it’s considering for the new carrier.

--Editors: David Scanlan, Steven Frank

To contact the reporter for this story: Frederic Tomesco in Montreal at tomesco@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net.


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