WestJet achieves record passenger numbers during 2Q16

WestJet carried 5,301,338 passengers during the second quarter of 2016 (2Q16), a 7% increase on the 4,956,488 passengers recorded during the same period the previous year.Although the airline’s net earnings for the quarter are down 40.5% to $36.7 million from C$61.6 million in 2Q15, WestJet still managed to log its 45th consecutive quarter of profitability.During 2Q16, WestJet’s revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased by 10.6% year-over-year to 5.749 billion from 5.199 billion, in comparison to a 6.9% rise in available seat miles (ASMs) to 7.116 billion from 6.655 billion. This resulted in a load factor increase of 2.7 percentage points to 80.8% from 78.1%.Notably, the carrier’s total revenue for 2Q16 was up by 0.8% to $949.3 million from $942 million year-over-year. However, the cost per ASM (excluding fuel) increased by 7% to 9.93 cents from 9.28 cents, while the revenue per ASM decreased by 5.8% to 13.34 cents in 2Q16 from 14.16 cents in 2Q15, with WestJet seeing its operating margin shrink by 4.2 percentage points to 6.2% from 10.7% across the respective periods.WestJet’s president and CEO, Gregg Saretsky, explained, “Despite the continuing economic weakness in Alberta, I am very pleased with the positive momentum we are seeing in our business, including strengthening topline revenue growth. Our fundamentals remain strong, as highlighted by our recent US$400 million investment grade unsecured notes offering, and we are confident that the strategic initiatives we are pursuing position us for continued profitable growth.”

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