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A Bombardier Q400 jet sits in a hangar at the Bombardier facility in Toronto, Ontario on Wednesday July 25, 2012.Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press

Bombardier Aerospace said Wednesday that WestJet's firm order for 20 Q400 NexGen turboprop aircraft has a list value of $683-million (U.S.).

If the Calgary-based airline exercises all its options for up to 25 additional Q400s, the list value of the total deal would be about US$1.59 billion.

"We are very pleased that our negotiations with Bombardier have led to the finalization of this purchase agreement," said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet's president and CEO.

"We now look forward to fine tuning our plan to launch our new regional airline in the second half of 2013," Mr. Saretsky said in a news release.

WestJet currently has only Boeing 737s in its fleet but the new regional service — consisting of Bombardier Q400 aircraft — will allow it to increase its presence in smaller markets.

Bombardier said WestJet will be the fifth operator and fourth airline in Canada to put its Q400 aircraft into service, joining approximately 40 other operators around the world.

The Q400 NextGen turboprop airliner, which is built at Bombardier's Toronto facility, is suited to short-haul flights and uses less fuel than regional jets.