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Canada's Jetlines signs deal to lease two 737-800s

Hopeful Canadian upstart Jetlines has signed a letter of intent with an unnamed US lessor to acquire two Boeing 737-800s – aircraft that would supplement the carrier's plans to purchase at least five new 737 Max.

The Vancouver-based company in a 7 September media release also says it now expects to begin flights in summer 2018 and to begin ticket sales next spring.

Jetlines does not name the US leasing company, but says the letter of intent calls for the 737s to be delivered in April 2018.

The aircraft will be fitted with 737-800's maximum capacity of 189 seats in an all-coach class configuration, Jetlines adds.

The company does not provide other details.

Jetlines had initially planned to begin flights using 737 Classics, according to securities documents filed by former partner company Inovent Capital.

The company also in December 2014 placed firm orders with Boeing to purchase five 737 Max 7s, with deliveries scheduled for 2023, according to Jetlines' most-recent securities filings.

That deal also includes options for 16 737 Max and conversion rights to the 737 Max 8.

Several years ago, Jetlines, then a private company, had hoped to become publicly traded through a merger with publicly-traded Inovent.

That partnership crumbled and Jetlines instead partnered with another publicly-traded company called Jet Metal.

Jet Metal and Jetlines merged their operations in February through a deal that made Jetlines a public company and raised C$6.8 million ($5.6 million) in the process.

Jetlines' plans received a boost in November 2016 when Canada's government granted Jetlines and another prospective start up called Enerjet an exemption from Canada's 25% cap on foreign ownership of airlines.

The exemption raised the cap to 49%, a move Jetlines and Enerjet praised as providing access to additional capital.

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