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WestJet reports December 2009 and full-year traffic data

WestJet has announced its traffic results for December 2009 – with a record load factor for the month of 81.7% – plus full-year figures.

Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased 8.1% year over year to 1.279 billion from 1.183 billion, and capacity, measured in available seat miles (ASMs), grew 7.0% over the same period to 1.565 billion from 1.462 billion, pushing the load factor up by 0.8 percentage points from December 2008’s 80.9%.

For the whole of 2009, RPMs generated totalled 13.835 billion, a 0.8% increase on 2008’s figure of 13.731 billion. ASMs went up 2.6% to 17.588 billion from 17.139 billion. This resulted in the annual load factor dropping by 1.4 pp to 78.7% from 80.1%.

"We are very pleased with our strong December load factor, which is accompanied by 42,000 additional guests compared to December last year," commented WestJet president and CEO Sean Durfy. "This busy month for holiday travel was further enhanced with a number of new vacation hot spots that we launched during the quarter. WestJet Vacations’ increasing popularity is contributing to current performance as well as advance bookings."

"We have made considerable progress in our call centre service levels since our reservation system cutover in October, and we are on our way to fully restoring our high-quality service," added Sean Durfy. "Despite record loads, winter storms and increased security measures over the busy holiday period, we completed 98.3% of our scheduled flights in December, thanks largely to the determination and drive of our WestJetters who excelled under challenging circumstances. We are tremendously appreciative of their continued dedication and are honoured to have recently ranked as one of Canada’s top employers in Hewitt Associates 50 Best Employers in Canada Study."

Durfy commented on the airline’s revenue per available seat mile (RASM) for the fourth quarter of 2009, noting, "Our expectations for fourth quarter RASM remain in line with our previous guidance of an 11%-13% year-over-year decline."

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