UPDATE 2-Air Canada, WestJet fly fuller planes in November

Wed Dec 5, 2012 5:14pm EST
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Dec 5 (Reuters) - Air Canada and WestJet Airlines , Canada's largest airlines, flew more passengers in November as demand for air travel remains robust, while regional carrier Porter Airlines reported a slump from last year's levels.

Air Canada, the country's biggest airline, said its load factor, or the percentage of available seats filled with paying customers, rose to 78.1 percent in November from 75.9 percent a year earlier.

Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu said last month's load factor was its second highest ever. The October load factor was a record 82.9 percent.

Traffic increased 4.6 percent as capacity rose 1.7 percent.

Traffic increased 6.9 percent in Asia Pacific markets, and 7 percent in the Australia, Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America markets, the company said.

Calgary-based WestJet said its load factor increased to 82.6 percent, a new record, from 77.6 percent a year earlier.

WestJet's year-to-date load factor also rose 3.3 percentage points to 82.9 percent.

"Our airline partnership strategy and growing number of business travelers are contributing to our positive momentum," WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky said.   Continued...