January 7, 2008 / 4:14 PM / in 10 years

WestJet says December loads rose despite new planes

CALGARY, Alberta, Jan 7 (Reuters) - WestJet Airlines Ltd’s WJA.TO planes flew fuller in December as Canada’s No.2 airline benefited from a strong economy even as it added new aircraft.

WestJet said its load factor, the proportion of aircraft seats filled by passengers, rose to 79.3 percent last month, up 1.3 percentage points from December 2006.

The record loads came despite a 15.2 percent rise in capacity from the addition of new aircraft.

Its available seat miles rose to 1.32 billion last month, from 1.15 billion a year earlier.

“We ended 2007 with a fleet of 70 Boeing Next-Generation 737s and believe we are well positioned to add seven more aircraft in 2008,” Sean Durfy, WestJet’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Revenue passenger miles rose 17.1 percent year over year to 1.05 billion, from 896 million in December 2006.

For the year, WestJet’s load factor rose 2.5 percentage points to 80.7 percent. Its available seat miles climbed 18.6 percent from 2006 to 14.55 billion while revenue passenger miles climbed 19.9 percent to 11.74 billion. (Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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