March 3, 2011 / 2:17 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 2-WestJet, Porter Airlines planes fuller in February

* WestJet Feb load factor 83.6 pct vs 82.5 pct, last year

* WestJet says capacity up 10.7 pct

* Porter Airlines capacity up 18.5 pct (Rewrites, adds Porter Airlines’ february load factor and capacity, updates share movement)

March 3 (Reuters) - WestJet Airlines Ltd , Canada’s No. 2 carrier, and privately held regional carrier Porter Airlines flew more passengers in February versus a year earlier.

Canada’s second-biggest airline WestJet’s load factor — the percentage of available seats filled with paying customers — rose to 83.6 percent last month from 82.5 percent in February, 2010.

The low-cost airline said revenue passenger miles, or traffic, rose 12.2 percent to 1.36 billion, year-over-year, and capacity, measured in available seat miles, was up 10.7 percent to 1.63 billion, over the same period.

Most of the increase in capacity came in from its trans-border and international routes, WestJet said in a statement.

WestJet, which entered a code-share agreement with American Airlines earlier this week, said consumer demand has been strong and business bookings continue to show strength, moving forward in 2011.

Porter, a small airline that flies out of Toronto’s downtown Billy Bishop Airport, said it increased capacity by 18.5 percent and traffic by 28.7 percent over January 2010.

The February load factor rose to 50.6 percent from 46.5 percent, said Porter Airlines, which will also serve Ontario cities of Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie in the next few months.

Calgary-based WestJet shares were trading up more than 1 percent at C$15.65 on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Arnika Thakur in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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