Feb 9 (Reuters) - Air Canada, the country’s biggest airline, reported a fourth-quarter net loss on Thursday, as higher maintenance and fuel costs more than offset the gains from increased passenger traffic.
The Montreal-based carrier said it had lost C$80 million, or 22 Canadian cents a share, compared with a year-earlier net profit of C$89 million, or 27 Canadian cents a share.
Excluding one-time items, the company reported a loss of 64 Canadian cents a share.
Air Canada’s smaller rival, WestJet Airlines, said on Wednesday that it was preparing to launch a short-haul carrier to serve smaller markets in Canada by the end of 2013. That will further ratchet up competition between the two airlines. ($1 = $1 Canadian) (Reporting By Euan Rocha and Susan Taylor)