March 5, 2012 / 3:53 PM / 6 years ago

WestJet planes slightly emptier in February

(Reuters) - Forward bookings at WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA.TO) look sound, its chief executive said on Monday, even as the carrier reported slightly emptier planes in February.

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

Canada’s second-biggest airline said its load factor dipped to 82.7 percent last month from 83.6 percent as an increase in capacity outpaced a rise in passenger traffic.

Capacity rose 10.9 percent while traffic increased 9.9 percent.

Forward bookings “are healthy”, WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky said in a statement.

The month of March, which includes the spring break school holiday across Canada, is typically a strong traffic month, National Bank Financial analyst Cameron Doerksen said in a note to clients.

WestJet’s stock was down nearly 1 percent at C$13.97 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, in line with a weaker overall market.

Reporting By Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; editing by Rob Wilson

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