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WestJet Increases Order for New Generation 737 Aircraft.

Business Editors

CALGARY, Alberta--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 22, 2000

WestJet(TSE:WJA.)

WestJet Airlines' Board of Directors today finalized the agreements for the corporation's new generation aircraft acquisition plan. This includes the acquisition of six additional firm Boeing 737-700 series new generation aircraft, the option to purchase an additional 18 737-700 series aircraft as well as the purchase of a 737-700 series flight simulator.

An agreement, previously announced in February 2000, initially included a commitment to purchase 20 firm 737 aircraft, and the option to purchase a further 30 aircraft. The corporation also finalized its agreement to lease 10 firm Boeing 737-700 series aircraft from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), with the option for an additional 10 aircraft. This agreement remains unchanged from that announced in February 2000, with same pricing terms and conditions as the initial 20 aircraft order.

The documents signed today now brings the WestJet fleet plan to a total of 36 firm 737-700 series aircraft, and 58 options, for a total of 94 aircraft. The first of the leased new generation GECAS aircraft order is expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2001. All 10 leased aircraft will be in service by the end of 2002. The first of the firm purchased aircraft will be in WestJet service in 2003.

WestJet will also enter into hedging agreements that will provide interest rate protection to eliminate interest rate risk in the GECAS leases as well as currency rate protection to eliminate foreign exchange risk on the US dollar based GECAS leases and the Boeing aircraft purchases.

WestJet's Board of Directors has also approved the purchase of a new generation Boeing 737-700 Flight Simulator from CAE Electronics Ltd. The simulator, which is anticipated to be delivered in the second quarter of 2001, will be housed in WestJet's new Hangar facility and will be an integral component of the corporation's infrastructure that will support its growth.

Stephen Smith, WestJet President and Chief Executive Officer, said that "These agreements and their accompanying operational and financial plans will provide WestJet with the framework to build on our successes of the past four years, as we take advantage of opportunities in the evolving airline industry. These aircrafts' lower unit costs will also allow WestJet to continue to provide the low fares that have been the trademark of WestJet's success: giving more people the opportunity to travel by air to visit friends and family across Canada. This order ensures our supply of up to 94 aircraft over the coming eight years and will allow WestJet to expand to serve an increasing number of communities."

WestJet Airlines Ltd. currently operates 18 Boeing 737 jet aircraft and has announced they will be expanding their fleet to 22 by the first quarter of 2001. The airline currently serves the fifteen Canadian cities of Victoria, Vancouver, Abbotsford/Fraser Valley, Prince George, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Ottawa and Moncton. WestJet is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WJA.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Aug 22, 2000
Words:503
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