July 28, 2015 / 10:45 AM / 4 years ago

Canadian airline WestJet's profit rises as fuel costs fall

WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky in Toronto, May 6, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

(Reuters) - Canada’s WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA.TO) reported a 19 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by lower fuel costs and addition of new routes.

Global crude prices LCoc1 CLc1 have nearly halved from June last year, lowering costs for airlines and logistics and shipping companies, among others.

WestJet’s fuel costs fell 21.8 percent to C$214.9 million ($165.1 million) in the second quarter. Fuel is usually an airline’s largest variable cost, accounting for a third or more of operating expenses.

Cost per available seat mile, a measure of how much an airline spends to fly a passenger, fell 8.1 percent to 12.65 cents.

WestJet is trying to attract customers away from Air Canada (AC.TO) by adding international routes and boosting capacity while keeping fares low.

WestJet’s revenue per available seat mile (RASM), an indicator of an airline’s efficiency calculated by dividing operating income by available seat miles, fell 5.7 percent, mainly due to lower fares.

The company’s net earnings rose to C$61.6 million, or 49 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended June 30 from C$51.8 million, or 40 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 1.3 percent to C$942 million.

Calgary-based WestJet shares closed at C$22.67 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday. Up to Monday’s close, the stock had fallen 32 percent this year.

Reporting by Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey

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