WestJet mulls adding turboprops

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Canadian carrier WestJet is looking at adding turboprops to its all-Boeing 737 fleet as it studies a possible expansion of its domestic network, said reports.

A recent interview in Canada's Global and Mail newspaper quoting the airline's CEO Gregg Saretsky said the airline is considering the Bombardier Q400 and ATR 72 to enable it to operate to smaller markets in Canada that cannot be profitably served with the 737.

"We've built out almost as much as we can the 737 footprint in Canada, serving all the markets within the mission range and capability of the 737," Saretsky was quoted as saying. "We see the end of our ability to grow with the single-fleet type. We're pretty much done with the 737s in Canada."

Saretsky said no decision on aircraft acquisitions has been made yet. WestJet currently operates 97 737s.

A WestJet spokesman, asked to confirm Saretsky's comments, would only say that it is "premature at this point to say much more than we intend at some point to expand our fleet".

"We have had a group of people in our company studying various options and opportunities for several years now, and that work continues. Which aircraft we choose and where we fly with them has not been determined," added the spokesman.