July 7, 2008 / 2:45 PM / 10 years ago

Air Canada loads fall in June as capacity rises

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Air Canada’s ACa.TO ACb.TO planes flew less full in June as rising capacity outstripped growing passenger traffic, the country’s biggest airline said on Monday.

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Cassese

Air Canada said the load factor on its combined mainline and regional systems fell to 82.2 percent in June, down 0.6 percentage points from 82.8 percent in June 2007.

The airline said last month it would cull routes, slash its capacity by 7 percent and cut 2,000 jobs to cope with rising fuel prices.

Still, despite economic worries and fuel surcharges on ticket prices, the airline’s passenger traffic rose 1.9 percent from June 2007, to 4.58 billion revenue passenger miles from 4.5 billion.

Capacity, the seats available to sell to passengers, rose 2.7 percentage points to 5.57 billion available seat miles from 5.43 billion. The announced cuts are to take effect beginning in autumn.

Air Canada’s mainline system, which flies domestic and international routes, posted a load factor of 83.1 percent for the month, down 0.3 percentage points from the prior-year result.

Traffic on the mainline rose 2.8 percent to 4.23 billion revenue passenger miles, while capacity rose 3.3 percent to 5.1 billion available seat miles.

The June load factor on the company’s regional affiliate, Jazz Air JAZ_u.TO, fell 3.4 percentage points to 73.2 percent as traffic dropped 7.9 percent to 349 million revenue passenger miles, while capacity dropped 3.6 percent to 477 million available seat miles.

Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Peter Galloway

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