WestJet Encore named as new regional airline

WestJet has unveiled the name of its new regional airline — it's WestJet Encore.
WestJet's new regional airline will take to the skies in the latter half of 2013. (Canadian Press)

WestJet has unveiled the name of its new regional airline — it's WestJet Encore.

The airline will take off in the second half of 2013 and use Bombardier Q-400 aircraft to serve smaller Canadian centres.

WestJet spokesman Robert Palmer said the company will announce a schedule for WestJet Encore, including the first communities it will serve, early next year.

"Back in January, we announced that we were going to put the idea of starting a regional airline to WestJetters, they were going to vote on it, and 91 per cent voted in favour of it, so we announced that in February," said Palmer.

"So, this is another step along the way."

More than 800 names were put forward, said Palmer. The final two, Encore and Echo, were then put to a WestJet employee vote.

Palmer said the company will hire up to 1,900 people.