WestJet blames March load factor drop on overcapacity

WestJet’s traffic results for March 2015 show a load factor of 81.3%, down 2.7 percentage points from 84% for March 2014.
“We continue to be pleased with our traffic growth as a record number of guests chose to fly with us, including on our fast growing regional airline WestJet Encore," explained WestJet’s president and CEO, Gregg Saretsky. “As expected, we have seen industry supply increases in certain southern markets running ahead of demand resulting in depressed load factors. Despite this, the overall demand environment remains strong and first quarter revenue per available seat mile (RASM) is expected to be in line with prior guidance.”
However, revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased 1.5% year-on-year, and available seat miles (ASMs) grew 4.8%over the same period. WestJet flew 4.9 million passengers in the first quarter, a year-over-year increase of 2.2% (approximately 108,000 additional passengers).
March also saw WestJet begin taking bookings for its flights between Alberta and Hawaii on its newly-acquired Boeing 767 widebody aircraft beginning in December. The carrier has also revealed that the 767s will be redeployed in summer 2016 to new international destinations that will be announced later in 2015.

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