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1Q profit drops but WestJet achieves 20th consecutive positive quarter

WestJet has reported first quarter 2010 net earnings of $13.8 million, its 20th consecutive quarter of profitability.

Excluding the impact of a one-time special item related to the departure of former CEO Sean Durfy in 1Q10, WestJet’s adjusted first quarter net earnings for 2010 were $17.5 million.

"We are very pleased to be starting 2010 with another quarter of profitability," remarked WestJet president and CEO Gregg Saretsky, "especially in light of the challenging economic environment and rising energy costs. Our talented and dedicated team and a disciplined approach to running a low-cost business have produced first quarter results that continue to be among the best in North America based on normalised earnings before tax margins."

Total revenue grew by 7.0% to $619.8 million from 1Q09’s $579.3 million. Yield (revenue per RPM) fell by 2.4% to 16.14 cents from 16.54 cents in 1Q09, while RASM (revenue per ASM) fell to 13.19 cents from 1Q09’s 13.30 cents in 1Q09.

On the cost side, CASM (cost per ASM) increased by 3.9% to 12.37 cents from 11.90 cents in 1Q09. CASM excluding fuel and employee profit share went up 4.9% to 8.92 cents from 8.50 cents in 1Q09.

With regard to the airline’s first quarter operational highlights, Gregg Saretsky commented, "We are happy to have achieved a 7% year-over-year improvement in revenue, notwithstanding a 2.4% decline in yield. Our yield continued to be under pressure from price-sensitive travellers, which resulted in a RASM decline of 0.8%."

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