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Canadian airlines report improved traffic volumes

Feb. 6, 2012, Toronto - Canadian airlines say they saw record passenger numbers last month, which is usually a slow period for business travellers.


February 6, 2012
By The Canadian Press

WestJet, Canada's second-largest airline, said Monday its traffic improved in January with a record load factor of 79.9
per cent, compared to 77.8 per cent in the year-earlier.

Revenue passenger miles, or traffic, increased 11.5 per cent and capacity, measured in available seat miles, grew 8.6 per cent year-over-year.

"We are very happy with this strong start to 2012 and the new record January load factor. Our capacity increases are being nicely absorbed and the healthy demand for air travel has continued into the new year," said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky.

Calgary-based WestJet recently announced a code sharing agreement with Delta Air Lines, which will help it add to its 75-city network. The airline also plans to add capacity with the arrival of 38 new planes through 2018 and is considering adding a short-haul service.

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Montreal-based Air Canada, the country's largest airline  also saw a record load factor of 79.1 per cent, up from 78
per cent.

Its system-wide traffic, which includes regional airlines through which Air Canada purchases capacity, increased 3.3 per cent, while capacity grew 1.9 per cent.

"Air Canada generated greater traffic in all markets with system wide growth of 3.3 per cent on a capacity increase of 1.9 per cent through higher utilization of our existing fleet," said Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive officer.

Air Canada flies to more than 180 destinations on five continents.

Toronto-based Porter Airlines, which offers routes in Eastern Canada and the United States, said its load factor grew four per cent to 55.7 per cent, hitting a January record.

January results included 111.6 million available seat miles, up 31 per cent from the year earlier and 62.2 million revenue passenger miles, an increase of 41 per cent.

"It is nice to see 2012 begin with strong growth," said Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines.

"As business travel is typically reduced at the beginning of the calendar year, we are able to supplement our schedule with leisure destinations such as Mont Tremblant and Vermont. These are very popular and help to produce positive numbers."