February 4, 2014 / 12:22 PM / 5 years ago

WestJet Airlines profit rises 11percent as costs fall

(Reuters) - WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA.TO), Canada’s second-largest carrier, reported an 11 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit as costs fell, and the company raised its dividend.

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

The Calgary, Alberta-based airline said net earnings rose to C$67.8 million ($61.3 million), or 52 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended December 31, from C$60.9 million, or 46 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 8 percent to C$926.4 million.

WestJet’s cost per available seat mile, or the cost to fly a single seat one mile, fell about 1 percent in the quarter. Revenue per revenue passenger mile, or yield, rose 1.4 percent.

WestJet, which launched a new regional airline last summer and will start trans-Atlantic service in June, raised dividend to 12 Canadian cents from 10.

WestJet shares have dropped 11 percent this year amid worries that the weak Canadian dollar will drive up the cost of jet fuel and aircraft.

WestJet made no mention of the impact of the Canadian dollar in its earnings statement on Tuesday.

The carrier said last month it had no plans to add a currency surcharge on its vacation packages, a move implemented by rivals Air Canada ACb.TO and Transat AT TRZb.TO.

Some analysts have said that concerns about the Canadian dollar are overdone, noting that there is healthy demand, ticket prices are strong and jet fuel costs are declining.

WestJet shares closed at C$24.85 on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Ashutosh Pandey in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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