News Releases

WestJet examining new regional airline

Airline talking with employees as important next step

CALGARY, Jan. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - WestJet today announced it is considering the launch of a new short-haul, regional airline as early as 2013 using a fleet of approximately 40 smaller, turboprop aircraft.

"This is an exciting consideration for WestJetters," said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO. "We are meeting with WestJetters throughout January to get their input on this watershed decision. One of the cornerstones of our success is engaging with employees early on in key decisions and I am confident they will see the strategic value of this initiative. Once our employees have had the opportunity to share their input, we will be in a better position to make a sound decision rooted in employee feedback and engagement.

"As we've said on many occasions before, we have regularly evaluated this strategy," continued Gregg Saretsky. "A short-haul aircraft combined with WestJet's brand, balance sheet strength and low-cost structure will allow WestJet to profitably accomplish four main goals: Introduce WestJet's friendly and caring service to many smaller communities who have asked for our service; optimize the size of aircraft to efficiently increase frequency; create new connections between existing WestJet markets; and build additional feed to our current 71-city network so that we can continue to profitably grow and add shareholder value."

"I am excited at the prospect of repeating the entrepreneurial success of WestJet's beginnings," said Clive Beddoe, WestJet Chairman and principal founder. "This new airline, powered by our low-cost model and strong corporate culture would greatly benefit the guests we serve, their communities and our shareholders. Our single fleet of Boeings will be joined by a sister company operating a single fleet of turboprops to maintain maximum efficiencies for both airlines."

"This would be the natural evolution of our airline," concluded Gregg Saretsky. "We have built a powerful brand that has been embraced by the travelling public from the start. Our goal now is to provide more Canadians with more access to lower fares and our friendly and caring guest experience."

Caution regarding forward-looking statements
Certain information set forth in this news release, including information regarding the launch of a short-haul regional airline including fleet size and type, our process for considering the launch of a short-haul regional airline, our strategic plan for a short-haul regional airline, the goals relating to implementation of a short-haul regional airline and profitability thereof, the benefits to certain stakeholders from implementing a short-haul regional airline, and our strategy, contain forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond WestJet's control. These forward-looking statements are based on our current strategic plan, our analysis of the requirements for a short-haul regional airline including fleet type and size and network design, our experience in creating and growing a low-cost domestic airline, and currently available implementation plans, but may vary due to factors including, but not limited to, general economic conditions, the competitive environment for a short-haul regional airline, information obtained through stakeholder consultations, regulatory requirements, aircraft manufacturer information, and other factors and risks described in WestJet's public reports and filings. WestJet's public reports and filings are available on WestJet's profile at www.sedar.com. Readers are cautioned that undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements as actual results may vary materially from the forward-looking statements. WestJet does not undertake to update, correct or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of any new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable law.

About WestJet
WestJet is Canada's favourite airline, offering scheduled service throughout its 71-city North American and Caribbean network. Inducted into Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures Hall of Fame and named one of Canada's best employers, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. WestJet offers increased legroom and leather seats on its modern fleet of 97 Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. With future confirmed deliveries for an additional 38 aircraft through 2018, WestJet strives to be one of the five most successful international airlines in the world.

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For further information:

Media contact
Robert Palmer, Media Relations, telephone: 1-888-WJ 4 NEWS (1-888-954-6397), email: media@westjet.com.


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