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WestJet says it plans to have wide-body planes in the sky by fall 2015

The Canadian Press

CALGARY - WestJet Airlines Ltd. (TSX:WJA) says it aims to have its own wide-body aircraft in the sky next year.

The bigger planes will offer greater range than WestJet's current fleet of Boeing 737s and allow it to compete with Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) on more routes.

The Calgary-based airline says it plans to operate four of wide-body planes initially, with their first flights going between Alberta and Hawaii during the 2015 winter season.

The company says is in the advanced stages of sourcing the aircraft.

CEO Gregg Sarestsky says it's the next phase of WestJet's evolution as the carrier eyes an expansion into more international destinations.

The airline had been using two Boeing 757-200 planes operated by Thomas Cook for its Alberta-Hawaii winter service, but that agreement ends next spring.

In addition to the 737s, WestJet's Encore regional service flies the Bombardier Q400 turboprop.