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WestJet, Air Canada fill more seats in December

phphl006samJan. 7, 2009, Calgary - Major air carriers WestJet and Air Canada had fewer empty seats in December despite economic hurdles and one of the "toughest Christmas travel seasons in Canadian history.''


January 7, 2009
By The Canadian Press

phphl006samJan. 7, 2009, Calgary – Major air carriers WestJet and Air Canada had fewer empty seats in December despite economic hurdles and one of the "toughest Christmas travel seasons in Canadian history.''

Calgary-based WestJet reported a load factor of 80.9 per cent for the month, up 1.6 percentage points from 79.3 in December 2007 as the airline increased capacity 10.6 per cent.

"These are very strong results, particularly at a time when there remains some degree of uncertainty in many areas of the economy,'' president and CEO Sean Durfy said in a statement.

Revenue passenger miles increased 12.8 per cent to 1.183 billion from 1.049 billion.

Meanwhile, Air Canada reported a load factor of 81.7 per cent, up 2.9 percentage points from the same month a year earlier as it cut capacity 9.9 per cent, dropping system traffic by 6.6 per cent.

"These traffic results reflect effective capacity management that, combined with the decline in fuel prices, positions Air Canada well to manage through these challenging economic times,'' said president and CEO Montie Brewer.

The main airline said its load factor for the month was 82.7 per cent, up 3.4 percentage points, while it flew 6.2 per cent fewer revenue passenger miles as capacity decreased 10 per cent.

Regional carrier Jazz, from which Air Canada purchases regional capacity, reported a load factor of 72.1 per cent, down 1.4 percentage points from December 2007 as capacity decreased by 9.1 per cent from December 2007.