(corrects 2010 capacity projections)

Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet plans to slow its fleet growth after concluding discussions with Boeing and lessor Aviation Capital Group (ACG) to reschedule 16 aircraft deliveries.

Previously WestJet was scheduled to add 11 leased 737s and 24 owned aircraft starting in 2010 and continuing through 2013 for a total fleet count of 121 aircraft at the end of that period.

Through the revised schedule WestJet projects a year-end 2013 fleet count of 108 to 111 aircraft, and a range of 112 to 135 aircraft in 2016.

At the same time WestJet has placed an order with Boeing for 14 additional aircraft. The carrier's management explains that order, along with 23 lease expiries between 2013 and 2016 with an option to renew, supports the projected fleet range for 2016.

WestJet earlier this month disclosed it was holding discussions with Boeing and aircraft lessors regarding deferrals.

In a statement issued today WestJet CEO Sean Durfy explains: "Shifting the new aircraft delivery dates allows us to spread our growth out more evenly between 2010 and 2016. It also helps to even out our pre-delivery payment schedule for aircraft deposits and gives us the time and flexibility to make decisions around our financing options for these aircraft."

WestJet expects its capacity for 2010 to grow between 5%-10%. For 2009, WestJet expects capacity growth of 2%-3%, down from previous projections of 5%.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news