WestJet announces dividend increase and normal course issuer bid

CALGARY, Feb. 8, 2012 /CNW/ - WestJet Airlines Ltd. (TSX:WJA) announced today that its Board of Directors has approved a 20 per cent ($0.01) increase in its quarterly dividend per common voting share and variable voting share to $0.06 per quarter from $0.05 per quarter. The next quarterly dividend is payable on March 30, 2012 to shareholders of record on March 14, 2012.

In addition, WestJet announced that the Toronto Stock Exchange ("TSX") has accepted its notice to make a normal course issuer bid to purchase outstanding common voting and variable voting shares on the open market in accordance with the rules of the TSX.

As approved by the TSX, WestJet is now authorized to purchase up to 6,914,330 common voting shares and variable voting shares, representing approximately five per cent of WestJet's currently issued and outstanding shares under the normal course issuer bid. On any trading day, WestJet will not purchase more than 81,843 shares. As of January 31, 2012, there are 131,252,093 common voting shares and 7,034,510 variable voting shares issued and outstanding.

WestJet is authorized to make purchases during the period of February 10, 2012 to February 9, 2013 or until such earlier time as the bid is completed or terminated at the option of WestJet. Any common voting shares or variable voting shares WestJet purchases under this bid will be purchased on the open market through the facilities of the TSX at the prevailing market price at the time of such transaction. Common voting shares and variable voting shares acquired under the bid will be cancelled. TD Securities Inc. will be appointed as the broker firm responsible for making purchases of shares under the bid on behalf of WestJet.

During the period between November 5, 2010 and November 4, 2011, WestJet completed the purchase and cancellation of 7,264,820 shares under its prior normal course issuer at a volume weighted average price of $14.57 per share and for total cash consideration of $106.0 million.

WestJet believes that, from time to time, the market price of its common voting shares and variable voting shares may not reflect their underlying value. At such times, the purchase of common voting shares and variable voting shares for cancellation may be advantageous to shareholders by increasing the value of the remaining shares. The purchase of shares will also offset the dilutive effect of the issuance of shares pursuant to WestJet's compensation plans.

Caution regarding forward-looking statements
This news release contains certain statements that may constitute forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws. This information includes, but is not limited to WestJet's intentions with respect to the normal course issuer bid and purchases thereunder and the effects of repurchases under the bid.

This information is based upon certain material factors or assumptions that were applied in drawing a conclusion or making a projection as reflected in the forward-looking information. By its nature, this information is subject to inherent risks and uncertainties that may be general or specific. A variety of material factors - many of which are beyond WestJet's control - affect the operations, performance and results of WestJet and its business and could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in any of this forward-looking information.

The forward-looking information in this news release is current to the date hereof, and is subject to change following such date. While WestJet may elect to do so, unless required by applicable law, it undertakes no obligation to update this information to reflect new information or circumstances at any particular time. Additional information about the risks and uncertainties about WestJet's business is provided in its disclosure materials, including its annual information form, filed with the securities regulatory authorities in Canada, available at www.sedar.com.

About WestJet
WestJet is Canada's favourite airline, offering scheduled service throughout its 76-city North American and Caribbean network. Inducted into Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures Hall of Fame and named one of Canada's best employers, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. WestJet offers increased legroom and leather seats on its modern fleet of 97 Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. With future confirmed deliveries for an additional 38 aircraft through 2018, WestJet strives to be one of the five most successful international airlines in the world.

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SOURCE WestJet

For further information:

WestJet Media Relations
1-888-WJ-4-NEWS (1-888-954-6397)
Email: media@westjet.com

WestJet Investor Relations
1-877-493-7853
Email: investor_relations@westjet.com

Website: www.westjet.com


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