November 6, 2008 / 7:12 PM / 9 years ago

Air Canada capacity cuts boost loads in October

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Air Canada ACa.TO said on Thursday its flights flew closer to capacity last month than in September as it slashed the number of available seats to cope with falling passenger traffic and financial turmoil.

The country's biggest airline said its October load factor, which measures the percentage of available seats filled by paying passengers, rose 2.1 percentage points from the year-prior month to 81.2 percent, a record for October.

The rise came as the number of passengers on the carrier, measured in revenue passenger miles, fell 4 percent to 3.55 billion. Air Canada's capacity over the same period dropped 6.5 percent to 4.37 billion seat miles.

The company announced last June that it would cut its winter schedule by 7 percent and chop 2,000 jobs from its payroll to deal with worsening economic conditions and burdensome fuel costs. The job cuts have sparked protests from many of its employees,

The October load factor for Air Canada's regional affiliate, Jazz Air JAZ_u.TO, fell 2.4 percentage points to 71.6 percent as traffic fell.

The regional carrier's revenue passenger miles dropped 3.3 percent to 350 million, while capacity was unchanged at 489 million available seat miles.

Air Canada's A shares fell 8 Canadian cents to C$5.22 on Thursday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1=$1.19 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Richard Valdmanis)

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