November 3, 2010 / 3:13 PM / 7 years ago

Canada airlines upbeat after fuller planes in Oct

* WestJet load factor up 0.1 points to 77.4 pct

* Porter’s up 4.7 points to 56.3 pct

VANCOUVER, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Canadian airlines were optimistic on Wednesday about passenger numbers in coming months after saying they flew fuller planes in October, boosted by a busy Thanksgiving weekend .

WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA.TO), Canada’s second biggest carrier, said its load factor rose 0.1 points to 77.4 percent last month from October last year, even as it increased its seating capacity.

Revenue passenger miles, or traffic, increased 13.4 percent year over year while capacity, measured in available seat miles, rose 13.3 percent.

“The increase in guests demonstrates that our increased capacity is being absorbed,” WestJet President and Chief Executive Gregg Saretsky said.

“Advanced bookings are looking positive as well,” he said.

Passenger demand has slowly improved for Canadian airlines in recent months after a sharp slowdown last year because of the recession.

Last month’s bookings got a boost from the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, which is celebrated on the second Monday in October.

Privately owned Porter Airlines, Canada’s No. 3 scheduled carrier, said its load factor increased 4.7 points to 56.3 percent in October.

Porter’s available seat miles rose 29.7 percent and revenue passenger miles increased 41.7 percent.

“We are seeing positive momentum continue with growth across all key measures,” said Robert Deluce, Porter’s president and CEO.

$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Nicole Mordant; editing by Rob Wilson

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