Air Canada, WestJet post record numbers for September

Wed Oct 3, 2012 4:59pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Canada's two largest airlines, Air Canada ACb.TO and WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA.TO: Quote), flew with record levels of passengers for the month September, but levels at regional carrier Porter Airlines fell from a year earlier.

Air Canada, the country's biggest airline, said on Wednesday that its September load factor, or percentage of available seats filled with paying customers, rose 2.1 percentage points to a record 84.9 percent.

Traffic increased 3.1 percent as capacity, or available seat miles, rose just 0.5 percent.

"These strong results underscore the effectiveness of our disciplined capacity management," Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu said in a statement.

The load factor on Air Canada's flights to Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America made the biggest jump, to 82.9 percent from 79.4 percent in the same period last year.

For the third quarter, Air Canada said its load factor rose to 86.3 percent from 85.8 percent last year, as traffic rose 0.8 percent and capacity rose 0.2 percent.

Calgary-based WestJet, Canada's No. 2 carrier, said its September load factor exceeded its expectations, rising to a record 79.1 percent from 74.7 percent a year earlier.

Traffic was up 7.7 percent and capacity rose 1.7 percent in the month.

"The record load factor exceeded our expectations this quarter and demand remains healthy as we begin the transition into our winter schedule," WestJet Chief Executive Greg Saretsky said in a statement.   Continued...