WestJet Encore to be based in Calgary

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WestJet will base its new regional carrier, WestJet Encore, in its current base of Calgary.

The carrier and the Calgary Airport Authority will hold a joint study to determine the exact location of the regional carrier's 40,000 sq ft (3,716 sq m) maintenance facility and office space, says WestJet.

"With consideration to the operational needs of WestJet Encore during its initial launch phase and as it grows to full maturity, Calgary was determined to be the best fit for the airline and its people," adds the airline.

WestJet had previously said it could base the new regional carrier, which will operate Bombardier Q400s, in either Calgary or Toronto. The airline's chief executive Gregg Saretsky says: "As WestJet Encore looks to replicate the success of WestJet, the decision to do so from a Calgary headquarters felt right for us operationally and felt right for our WestJetters."

WestJet Encore will eventually be based in both Calgary and Toronto. Saretsky has said that the regional carrier's first seven aircraft would be based at the city the airline chooses to launch the regional carrier in, and the next seven or eight aircraft would be based in the other city.

The regional carrier's first destinations will be announced in early 2013. WestJet says today the choice of Calgary as the carrier's base will not determine where the airline will operate to.