Westjet has announced plans to purchase up to 20 B787-9 aircraft, with the first Dreamliner to join the fleet in 2019.

The definitive purchase agreement with Boeing will see the Canadian carrier take delivery of ten B787-9s between the first quarter of 2019, and the end of 2021, with options on a further ten Dreamliners to be delivered between 2020 and 2024.

The airline said that the aircraft would give Westjet “the ability to serve new destinations in Asia and South America, and to expand its service offerings into the European market”.

Commenting on the news Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO said:

“This order represents an exciting new chapter in Westjet’s history. We have carefully executed on our strategic plan, first launching Westjet Encore to connect smaller communities across Canada to our growing network followed by our successful venture into wide-body flying to Hawaii and London Gatwick.

“Now, with the most sophisticated commercial airliner available, we turn our attention to further growing our international presence and introducing even more travellers to our award-winning guest experience.”

The agreement also sees Westjet convert 15 firm orders for the B737 Max – which were to have been delivered between 2019 and 2021 – into options available between 2022 and 2024.