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WestJet to buy up to 20 Dreamliners for long routes from Canada

Staff Writer |
WestJet AirLine said it has signed a definitive purchase agreement with Boeing for up to 20 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

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The purchase of the fuel-efficient aircraft will enable the Canadian airline to expand its international presence.

The agreement includes commitments for 10 Boeing 787-9 aircraft to be delivered between the first quarter of 2019 and December 2021.

The airline also has options to buy an additional 10 aircraft to be delivered between 2020 and 2024.

Further, WestJet said it has selected General Electric's GEnx-1B engine for the 787.

The airline noted that the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is 20 percent more fuel efficient than the Boeing 767 aircraft that it owns.

With a range of more than 14,000 kilometres, the Dreamliner will give WestJet the ability to serve new destinations in Asia and South America, and to expand its service offerings into the European market.

As part of the purchase agreement, WestJet said it is converting 15 firm orders for the Boeing 737 MAX that were to be delivered between 2019 and 2021 to options available between 2022 and 2024.

In a separate statement, WestJet reported a decline in net income for the first quarter to C$48.3 million or C$0.41 per share from C$87.6 million or C$0.71 per share in the year-ago period.

The latest quarter's results include irregular operations related costs of C$7.0 million due to severe winter weather experienced in the quarter.

However, total revenues for the quarter grew 8 percent to C$1.11 billion from C$1.03 billion in the same period last year.

The company's board of directors declared a cash dividend of C$0.14 per common voting share and variable voting share for the second quarter of 2017, to be paid on June 30, 2017, to shareholders of record on June 14, 2017.

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