November 4, 2009 / 10:53 PM / in 8 years

WestJet's loads up in October, Air Canada's slip

* WestJet load factor up 1.5 points to 77.3 pct

* Air Canada load factor down 0.5 points to 79.6

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Traffic numbers at Canada’s major airlines flew in opposite directions last month, with WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA.TO) boosting its percentage of seats filled and Air Canada ACa.TO reporting a slight drop.

WestJet, the country’s No. 2 carrier, said its load factor in October was 77.3 percent, up 1.5 percentage points from the year before.

Chief Executive Sean Durfy cited strength in both business and vacation travel for the gain.

Capacity fell by 1.8 percent to 1.413 billion available seat miles, and revenue passenger miles rose 0.3 percent to 1.093 billion.

Air Canada, the country’s largest carrier on a capacity basis, had a load factor of 79.6 percent last month, down 0.6 percentage points from October 2008 on a consolidated basis.

The airline’s capacity fell by 0.5 percent to 4.835 billion available seat miles, while revenue passenger miles slipped 1.3 percent to 3.85 billion. (Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Rob Wilson)

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