WestJet reports results; staff support regional airline creation

WestJet has announced its financial results for 2011 including fourth quarter net earnings of C$35.6 million and full-year net earnings of C$148.7 million, up from the net earnings of C$90.2 million for 2010.

“We are very pleased with our strong fourth quarter and full-year results for 2011. We managed to cover the elevated fuel costs with our revenue growth and improve our profit margin on a full-year basis,” reported WestJet president and CEO Gregg Saretsky. “Low-cost continues to be our focus and I am proud of WestJetters for their efforts throughout 2011 to keep controllable costs per unit relatively flat, while at the same time delivering a remarkable guest experience.”

On 16 January 2012, WestJet announced that it was examining the possibility of launching a new low-cost short-haul, regional airline. Since that time, WestJet staff have provided their input and voted overwhelmingly in favour of the strategy. “With resounding support from WestJetters, the leadership team and the board have made the decision to move ahead with plans to launch a new low-cost regional airline that will replicate our success in stimulating demand by bringing low fares to many new communities,” commented Saretsky. “This is an exciting time for WestJet as we embark on the next phase of our evolution and introduce our friendly and caring service to more markets across North America."

Total revenues for 2011 were $3,071.5 million, an increase of 17.8% from $2,607.3 million. RASM (revenue per available seat mile) was up 8.6% at 14.50 Canadian cents, compared with 13.35 Canadian cents in 2010. CASM (cost per available seat mile) in 2011 was 13.29 Canadian cents compared with 12.37 Canadian cents in 2010, a 7.4% increase.
CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share, was 8.85 Canadian cents in 2011, up 0.6% from 8.80 Canadian cents in 2010.

The airline anticipates that its full-year 2012 CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share, will be flat to up one per cent year-over-year. “We continue to expand our reach and grow profitably thanks to the teamwork of over 8,600 WestJetters and their commitment to the success of our airline,” added Saretsky. “Our forward bookings remain healthy as we have not seen any negative impact despite the ongoing broader economic uncertainty.” WestJet anticipates modest year-over-year RASM growth for the first quarter of 2012.

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