WestJet to add four 767-300s, exercise five Q400 options

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WestJet will acquire four Boeing 767-300ER aircraft to launch its first widebody flights in late 2015, and the carrier's regional subsidiary WestJet Encore has converted options to acquire five additional Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprops.

The 767s will initially operate routes between cities in Alberta and Hawaii, says WestJet, adding that it "expects to expand its operation into overseas markets starting in the summer of 2016."

The carrier does not say who it is acquiring the widebodies from.

The announcement, made in the airline's second quarter 2014 earnings release, comes roughly two weeks after the carrier announced it was in the "advanced stages" of sourcing the aircraft.

At that time WestJet executives declined to say which type of aircraft the company intended to purchase.

WestJet’s executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest experience Bob Cummings told Flightglobal in early July that by September 2015 WestJet hopes to begin a 90-day period during which one aircraft will be operated on overland routes, possibly including those to the USA.

During that period WestJet expects the aircraft will be certified for extended-range twin operations (ETOPs), allowing it to begin overwater flights.

WestJet currently serves Hawaii routes through a partnership with Thomas Cook, which operates the flights using Boeing 757-200s. Those Hawaii routes include Edmonton to Maui and Calgary to Maui and Honolulu.

The five additional 86-seat Q400s have a value of $167 million based on list prices, says Bombardier. The aircraft will come from a 2012 deal which included firm orders by WestJet for 20 Q400s and options for 25. WestJet exercised five of those options earlier this year.

The carrier currently has 13 Q400s in operation.