July 31, 2006 08:30 ET

WestJet Announces Completion of Financing for Next Six Aircraft

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - July 31, 2006) - WestJet (TSX:WJA) today announced it has completed a debt financing facility (the "Facility") arranged by ING Capital LLC and supported by loan guarantees from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) for US $191.1 million. The Facility, which includes ING Financial Holdings Corporation and Societe Generale (Canada) as lenders, will support the purchase of five Boeing Next-Generation 737-600s and one 737-700 series aircraft.

WestJet took delivery of the first of these aircraft on July 28, 2006, and will acquire the remaining five aircraft by the end of 2006. The 737-700 series aircraft is scheduled to be delivered in December 2006.

The loan will be drawn in Canadian dollars in separate installments with 12-year terms for each aircraft. The six aircraft are part of WestJet's current agreement with Boeing and is WestJet's fourth Ex-Im Bank supported facility for aircraft.

Under the Facility, WestJet has the ability to forward fix interest and foreign exchange rates up to six months in advance of delivery.

Derek Payne, WestJet's Vice-President Finance and Corporate Services and Co-Chief Financial Officer commented today: "This financing through Ex-Im Bank is essential to the progression of our airline. As we execute this phase of our growth strategy, we have the ability to expand our fleet of Next-Generation aircraft and further enhance our financial strengths."

Marking its tenth anniversary this year, WestJet is Canada's leading low-fare airline offering scheduled service throughout its 33-city North American network. Named Canada's most respected corporation for customer service in 2005, WestJet pioneered low-cost high-value flying in Canada. With increased legroom and leather seats on its modern fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, and live seatback television provided by Bell ExpressVu on the majority of its fleet, WestJet strives to be the number one choice for travellers.

Contact Information

  • WestJet
    Media Relations
    Gillian Bentley
    (403) 444-2615
    Website: www.westjet.com