April 3, 2013 / 3:03 PM / 4 years ago

WestJet, Porter fly emptier planes in March

A Westjet Boeing 737-700 takes off at the International Airport in Calgary, Alberta, May 3, 2011. REUTERS/Todd Korol

(Reuters) - WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO), Canada’s No. 2 carrier, and regional carrier Porter Airlines Inc said passenger levels fell in March from a year earlier.

WestJet said its load factor, or the percentage of available seats filled with paying customers, fell 0.1 percentage points to 86.1 percent.

Traffic for Calgary-based WestJet increased 8.2 percent, while capacity, measured in available seat miles, rose 8.4 percent from March 2012.

Porter Airlines, which competes with Air Canada ACa.TO and WestJet on certain short-haul flights in Canada and a handful of routes to the United States, said load factor slipped 1.7 percentage points to 58.1 percent.

Capacity for Porter Airlines rose 0.7 percent and traffic fell 2.1 percent for March, from a year earlier.

Shares of WestJet, which has a market value of C$3.11 billion, were slightly down at C$3.31 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Reporting by Krithika Krishnamurthy in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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