WestJet announces fourth quarter and year-end results



    
    Airline reports revenue growth of 19.9 per cent and strong profitability
    for 2008
    

    CALGARY, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - WestJet (TSX:WJA) today announced fourth quarter
and year-end financial results for 2008. The airline reported fourth quarter
net earnings of $40.8 million, or 32 cents per diluted share, and full-year
net earnings of $178.1 million, or $1.37 per diluted share.
    "We are very pleased with our quarterly results that cap off a
financially successful year," commented Sean Durfy, WestJet President and CEO.
"This was a challenging time for all businesses. The strain of economic
uncertainty, fluctuations in oil prices and financial turmoil continue to
impact all industries. While the unpredictable nature of 2008 challenged our
airline, our continued ability to deliver on our business strategy,
conservative approach to maintaining a healthy balance sheet and our team of
caring and dedicated WestJetters allowed us to once again be a top performer
in the industry worldwide."
    WestJet reported a fourth quarter earnings before tax (EBT) margin of 9.5
per cent. For the full-year 2008, the airline had an EBT margin of 10.0 per
cent and an operating margin of 11.5 per cent.
    "In comparison to those North American airlines who have reported their
numbers, our pre-tax margin is once again among the best," commented Sean
Durfy. "We weathered the volatility in the financial and credit markets and
ended the year with a cash position of over $820 million."

    
              Operating highlights (stated in Canadian dollars)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Q4        Q4            Full-year  Full-year
                     2008      2007    Change       2008       2007   Change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net earnings
     (millions)    $40.8     $75.4     (45.9%)   $178.1     $192.8     (7.6%)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Adjusted net
     earnings(1)   $40.8     $41.7      (2.1%)   $178.1     $181.3     (1.8%)
    (millions)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Diluted
     earnings
     per share     $0.32     $0.57     (43.9%)    $1.37      $1.47     (6.8%)
    (cents)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Adjusted
     diluted
     earnings per
     share(1)      $0.32     $0.32          -     $1.37      $1.39     (1.4%)
    (cents)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Revenue
     (millions)   $615.8    $552.0      11.6%  $2,549.5   $2,127.2     19.9%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ASM (available
     seat miles)
     (billions)    4.288     3.819      12.3%    17.139     14.545     17.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    RPM (revenue
     passenger
     miles)
     (billions)     3.329     2.968      12.2%    13.731     11.739     17.0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Load factor     77.6%     77.7%  (0.1 pts.)    80.1%     80.7% (0.6 pts.)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yield (revenue
     per revenue
     passenger
     mile) (cents)  18.50     18.60      (0.5%)    18.57      18.12      2.5%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    RASM (revenue
     per available
     seat mile)
     (cents)        14.36     14.46      (0.7%)    14.88      14.62      1.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CASM (cost
     per available
     seat mile)
     (cents)(1)     13.02     12.48       4.3%     13.17      12.34      6.7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CASM excluding
     fuel and
     employee
     profit share
     (cents)(1)     8.72      8.52       2.3%      8.28      8.55      (3.2%)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) Refer to reconciliations in the accompanying tables for further
        information regarding adjustments.
    

    Sean Durfy continued, "We are pleased to see RASM increase for the year
given a 17 per cent increase in revenue passenger miles. Due to a general
weakening of economic conditions that were broadly felt across all industries
in the latter half of the year, we did experience a slight decline in RASM in
the fourth quarter."
    CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share, declined for the
full-year 2008 despite an increase in the quarter. The increase in fourth
quarter CASM, excluding fuel and profit share, was impacted by weather-related
expenses associated with de-icing and re-accommodating guests.
    "Our renowned WestJet culture was exemplified by the wonderful manner in
which our WestJetters dealt with the severe weather situation across Canada
this Christmas," commented Sean Durfy. "We demonstrated the uniqueness of our
airline by going above and beyond to take care of guests when weather
disrupted their holiday travel plans."
    "Our ability to adjust our network to meet the demands of our guests
continues to play an important role in our financial success," added Sean
Durfy. "The flexibility of our fleet allows us to respond quickly to
favourable market opportunities ensuring that we maximize the efficiency and
profitability of our network. With our recently announced plans to start
service to Sydney, Nova Scotia; Yellowknife; San Diego and San Francisco, we
continue to work towards optimizing the use of our fleet and developing new
destinations."
    WestJet plans to continue its growth in 2009. Aircraft delivery delays,
resulting from last year's Boeing strike, have slowed the airline's ASM growth
expectations to between six and seven per cent in the first quarter of 2009,
and approximately five per cent for the full year.
    "It is too early for us to accurately comment on first quarter traffic
and revenues; however, based on current booking and revenue trends, and taking
into consideration that Easter is in April this year versus March last year,
we are seeing downward pressure on our yields. This is contributing to an
expected decline in year-over-year RASM for the first quarter of 2009,"
explained Sean Durfy. "Building on the record year WestJet Vacations had in
2008, we are looking forward to a strong first quarter for our vacations'
bookings.
    "The accomplishments of our people resulted in a successful 2008 despite
a difficult year for aviation. Our low-cost focus along with the dedication of
our more than 7,400 WestJetters will see us continue our growth; 2009 should
be another successful and profitable year for WestJet."
    WestJet's continued growth in 2009 is focused on developing the
capabilities, technology and resources to allow code-sharing with other
airlines, beginning with Southwest Airlines by the end of 2009 and Air France
and KLM by early 2010. Code-sharing is an important part of WestJet's strategy
to increase network flow, bringing additional travellers to its network and
offering additional access for new destinations.
    Additionally, WestJet plans to implement a new loyalty and credit card
program to further engage guests by creating products that are lucrative for
flyers, easy to use and will benefit both frequent flyers and those guests who
are new to WestJet. WestJet's underlying fundamentals include its continued
strong profitability, a healthy cash position, an enviable corporate culture
and an award-winning guest experience.
    WestJet also reported fourth quarter and year-end operational
performance. WestJet calculates on-time performance and completion rate based
on the U.S. Department of Transportation's standards. WestJet's baggage ratio
represents the number of delayed or lost baggage claims made per 1,000 guests.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Q4        Q4            Full-year  Full-year
                     2008      2007    Change       2008       2007   Change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On-time
     performance    68.9%     77.8%  (8.9 pts.)    77.0%     82.6% (5.6 pts.)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Completion
     rate           98.1%     99.0%  (0.9 pts.)    98.7%     99.2% (0.5 pts.)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bag ratio       4.68      4.32      (8.3%)     4.12      4.26       3.3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Caution regarding forward-looking statements

    Certain information set forth in this press release, including
information regarding implementation of WestJet's arrangements with Southwest
Airlines, WestJet's expected capacity growth, route plans, projections as to
yields, load factors and traffic in the first quarter of 2009, vacation
bookings and WestJet implementation of a loyalty and credit card program,
contain forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking
statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, some of which are
beyond WestJet's control. These forward-looking statements are based on
currently available implementation plans, agreements and bookings but may vary
based on factors including, but not limited to, the availability of sufficient
technology, delay in aircraft delivery, change in customer demand, general
economic conditions and availability of personnel and outside consultants.
These and additional risk factors are discussed in WestJet's most recent
Annual Information Form (AIF) and in other documents WestJet files from time
to time with securities regulatory authorities, which are available through
the Internet on WestJet's SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com.
    Readers are cautioned that undue reliance should not be placed on
forward-looking statements as actual results may vary materially from the
forward-looking statements. WestJet does not undertake to update any
forward-looking statements, except as is required by law.

    Following are WestJet's Consolidated Financial Statements for the three
and twelve months ended December 31, 2008 and 2007. The 2008 Management's
Discussion and Analysis and Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes for
the years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007, are available through the Internet
on westjet.com or WestJet's SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com.

    
                                   WestJet

                      Consolidated Financial Statements

       For the Three and Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2008 and 2007

    Consolidated Statement of Earnings
    (Stated in thousands of Canadian dollars, except share and per share
     amounts)
    (Unaudited)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Three Months Ended       Twelve Months Ended
                                    December 31               December 31

                                 2008         2007         2008         2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Revenues:
      Guest revenues      $   561,514  $   502,379  $ 2,301,301  $ 1,899,159
      Charter and other
       revenues                54,269       49,625      248,205      227,997
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              615,783      552,004    2,549,506    2,127,156

    Expenses:
      Aircraft fuel           177,422      142,359      803,293      503,931
      Airport operations       92,066       78,306      342,922      299,004
      Flight operations
       and navigational
       charges                 70,103       65,684      280,920      258,571
      Marketing, general
       and administration      61,190       47,570      211,979      177,393
      Sales and distribution   42,629       40,844      170,605      146,194
      Depreciation and
       amortization            34,829       32,838      136,485      127,223
      Inflight                 26,445       23,488      105,849       85,499
      Aircraft leasing         22,710       18,152       86,050       75,201
      Maintenance              24,144       18,489       85,093       74,653
      Employee profit
       share                    6,648        8,741       33,435       46,705
      Loss on impairment
       of property and
       equipment                    -            -            -       31,881
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              558,186      476,471    2,256,631    1,826,255
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Earnings from
     operations                57,597       75,533      292,875      300,901

    Non-operating income
     (expense):
       Interest income          5,624        7,943       25,485       24,301
       Interest expense       (18,450)     (19,454)     (76,078)     (75,749)
       Gain (loss) on foreign
        exchange               20,341       (1,379)      30,587      (12,750)
       Gain (loss) on
        disposal of property
        and equipment            (475)        (399)        (701)          54
       Loss on derivatives     (6,336)           -      (17,331)           -
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  704      (13,289)     (38,038)     (64,144)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Earnings before income
     taxes                     58,301       62,244      254,837      236,757

    Income tax expense
     (reduction):
       Current                    304          548        2,549        2,149
       Future                  17,226      (13,663)      74,153       41,775
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               17,530      (13,115)      76,702       43,924
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Net earnings          $    40,771  $    75,359  $   178,135  $   192,833
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Earnings per share:
      Basic               $      0.32  $      0.58  $      1.38  $      1.49
      Diluted             $      0.32  $      0.57  $      1.37  $      1.47

    Weighted average
     number of shares
       outstanding -
        basic             127,911,516  129,610,501  128,690,146  129,709,329
    Weighted average
     number of shares
       outstanding -
        diluted           127,917,767  133,054,088  129,975,240  131,610,179
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Consolidated Balance Sheet
    (Stated in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    (Unaudited)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    December 31, December 31,
                                                        2008         2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Assets
    Current assets:
      Cash and cash equivalents                     $   820,214  $   653,558
      Accounts receivable                                16,837       15,009
      Future income tax                                   4,196            -
      Prepaid expenses, deposits and other               67,693       39,019
      Inventory                                          17,054       10,202
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        925,994      717,788

    Property and equipment                            2,281,850    2,213,063

    Other assets                                         71,005       53,371
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    $ 3,278,849  $ 2,984,222
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Liabilities and shareholders' equity
    Current liabilities:
      Accounts payable and accrued liabilities      $   249,354  $   168,171
      Advance ticket sales                              251,354      194,929
      Non-refundable guest credits                       73,020       54,139
      Current portion of long-term debt                 165,721      172,992
      Current portion of obligations under
       capital lease                                        395          375
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        739,844      590,606

    Long-term debt                                    1,186,182    1,256,526

    Obligations under capital lease                         713        1,108

    Other liabilities                                    24,233       11,337

    Future income tax                                   241,740      174,737
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      2,192,712    2,034,314

    Shareholders' equity:
      Share capital                                     452,885      448,568
      Contributed surplus                                60,193       57,889
      Accumulated other comprehensive loss              (38,112)     (11,914)
      Retained earnings                                 611,171      455,365
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      1,086,137      949,908

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    $ 3,278,849  $ 2,984,222
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Consolidated Statement of Shareholders' Equity
    (Stated in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    (Unaudited)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Three Months Ended       Twelve Months Ended
                                    December 31               December 31

                                 2008         2007         2008         2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Share capital:
      Balance, beginning
       of period          $   452,776  $   440,242  $   448,568  $   431,248
      Issuance of shares
       pursuant to
       stock option plans           -           84          227        1,551
      Stock-based
       compensation on
       stock options
       exercised                  109        9,671       11,181       20,040
      Shares repurchased            -       (1,429)      (7,091)      (4,271)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              452,885      448,568      452,885      448,568

    Contributed surplus:
      Balance, beginning
       of period               57,671       63,356       57,889       58,656
      Stock-based
       compensation
       expense                  2,631        4,204       13,485       19,273
      Stock-based
       compensation on
       stock options
       exercised                 (109)      (9,671)     (11,181)     (20,040)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               60,193       57,889       60,193       57,889

    Accumulated other
     comprehensive loss:
      Balance, beginning
       of period               (9,717)     (12,370)     (11,914)           -
      Change in
       accounting policy            -            -            -      (13,420)
      Other comprehensive
       income(loss)           (28,395)         456      (26,198)       1,506
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              (38,112)     (11,914)     (38,112)     (11,914)

    Retained earnings:
      Balance, beginning
       of period              570,400      386,535      455,365      316,123
      Change in accounting
       policy                       -            -            -      (36,612)
      Shares repurchased            -       (6,529)     (22,329)     (16,979)
      Net earnings             40,771       75,359      178,135      192,833
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              611,171      455,365      611,171      455,365

    Total accumulated
     other comprehensive
     loss and retained
     earnings                 573,059      443,451      573,059      443,451
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total shareholders'
     equity               $ 1,086,137  $   949,908  $ 1,086,137  $   949,908
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income
    (Stated in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    (Unaudited)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Three Months Ended       Twelve Months Ended
                                 December 31               December 31

                              2008         2007         2008         2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Net earnings          $    40,771  $    75,359  $   178,135  $   192,833

    Other comprehensive
     income, net of taxes:
      Amortization of hedge
       settlements to
       aircraft leasing           350          350        1,400        1,400
      Net unrealized gain
       on foreign exchange
       derivatives under
       cash flow hedge
       accounting (net of
       tax of $(2,317);
       $ nil; $(3,097);
       $ nil)                   5,556           88        7,224           88
      Reclassification of
       net realized (gains)
       losses on foreign
       exchange derivatives
       to net earnings (net
       of tax of $992; $ nil;
       $1,357; $ nil)          (2,360)          18       (3,197)          18
      Net unrealized loss on
       fuel derivatives under
       cash flow hedge
       accounting (net of
       tax of $13,086; $ nil;
       $13,086; $ nil)        (31,941)           -      (31,625)           -
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              (28,395)         456      (26,198)       1,506

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total comprehensive
     income               $    12,376  $    75,815  $   151,937  $   194,339
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows
    (Stated in thousands of Canadian dollars)
    (Unaudited)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Three Months Ended       Twelve Months Ended
                                 December 31               December 31

                              2008         2007         2008         2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Operating activities
    Net earnings          $    40,771  $    75,359  $   178,135  $   192,833
    Items not involving cash:
      Depreciation and
       amortization            34,829       32,838      136,485      127,223
      Amortization of other
       liabilities               (233)        (235)        (937)        (897)
      Amortization of
       hedge settlements          350          350        1,400        1,400
      Unrealized loss
       on derivative
       instruments              6,323            -        6,725            -
      Loss on disposal of
       property, equipment
       and aircraft parts         587          573        1,809       32,773
      Stock-based
       compensation expense    2,631         4,204       13,485       19,273
      Future income tax
       expense (reduction)    17,226       (13,663)      74,153       41,775
      Unrealized foreign
       exchange loss (gain)  (23,720)        1,300      (34,823)      13,813
      Change in non-cash
       working capital        (11,213)      (9,177)      84,154      112,872
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               67,551       91,549      460,586      541,065
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Financing activities
      Increase in
       long-term debt               -       32,040      101,782      141,178
      Repayment of
       long-term debt         (41,570)     (39,349)    (179,397)    (156,516)
      Decrease in
       obligations under
       capital lease              (95)         (90)        (375)        (356)
      Increase in other
       assets                     (51)      (7,102)      (4,135)     (20,897)
      Shares repurchased            -       (7,958)     (29,420)     (21,250)
      Issuance of common
       shares                       -           84          227        1,551
      Change in non-cash
       working capital         (1,216)           -       (4,111)      (3,000)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              (42,932)     (22,375)    (115,429)     (59,290)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Investing activities
      Aircraft additions       (3,864)     (45,215)    (114,470)    (191,437)
      Aircraft disposals            6        1,963           84        1,975
      Other property and
       equipment additions    (27,166)      (6,327)     (90,663)     (24,639)
      Other property and
       equipment disposals          2           18          172       13,819
      Change in non-cash
       working capital          5,147            -        5,147            -
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              (25,875)     (49,561)    (199,730)    (200,282)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash flow from (used in)
     operating, financing
     and investing
     activities                (1,256)      19,613      145,427      281,493
    Effect of exchange
     rate on cash and
     cash equivalents          14,957         (284)      21,229       (5,452)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net change in cash
     and cash equivalents      13,701       19,329      166,656      276,041

    Cash and cash
     equivalents, beginning
     of period                806,513      634,229      653,558      377,517

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash and cash
     equivalents, end
     of period            $   820,214  $   653,558  $   820,214  $   653,558
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash interest paid    $   (18,782) $   (19,527) $   (76,604) $   (75,712)
    Cash taxes received
     (paid)               $      (515) $      (807) $    (2,305) $    10,623
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Operating Highlights
    (Unaudited)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Three months ended
                                                   December 31,

                                       2008            2007          Change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Available seat miles (ASM)     4,288,054,528   3,818,613,107       12.3%
    Revenue passenger miles        3,328,856,003   2,967,645,307       12.2%
    Load factor                            77.6%           77.7%    (0.1 pts)
    Yield (cents)                          18.50           18.60       (0.5%)
    Revenue per ASM (cents)                14.36           14.46       (0.7%)
    Cost per ASM (CASM) (cents)            13.02           12.48        4.3%
    CASM, excluding fuel and
     employee profit share (cents)          8.72            8.52        2.3%
    Fuel consumption (litres)        210,090,434     189,434,295       10.9%
    Fuel costs per litre (cents)           84.45           75.15       12.4%
    Segment guests                     3,518,362       3,280,342        7.3%
    Average stage length (miles)             899             869        3.5%
    Utilization (hours)                     12.1            12.3       (1.6%)
    Number of full-time equivalent
     employees at period end               6,187           5,682        8.9%
    Fleet size at period end                  76              70        8.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Twelve months ended
                                                   December 31,

                                       2008            2007          Change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Available seat miles (ASM)    17,138,883,465  14,544,737,340       17.8%
    Revenue passenger miles       13,730,960,234  11,739,063,003       17.0%
    Load factor                            80.1%           80.7%    (0.6 pts)
    Yield (cents)                          18.57           18.12        2.5%
    Revenue per ASM (cents)                14.88           14.62        1.8%
    Cost per ASM (CASM) (cents)            13.17         12.34(*)       6.7%
    CASM, excluding fuel and
     employee profit share (cents)          8.28          8.55(*)      (3.2%)
    Fuel consumption (litres)        839,699,921     723,104,203       16.1%
    Fuel costs per litre (cents)           95.66           69.69       37.3%
    Segment guests                    14,283,630      13,004,726        9.8%
    Average stage length (miles)             913             856        6.7%
    Utilization (hours)                     12.3            12.1        1.7%
    Number of full-time equivalent
     employees at period end               6,187           5,682        8.9%
    Fleet size at period end                  76              70        8.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*) Refer to reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to GAAP section
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to GAAP
    (Stated in thousands of Canadian dollars, except per share and per unit
    amounts)
    (Unaudited)

    Net earnings and diluted EPS:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Three months ended
                                             December 31

                                    2008                      2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net earnings and
     diluted EPS - GAAP    $   40,771   $     0.32   $   75,359   $     0.57

    Reservation system
     impairment                     -            -            -            -
    Tax on impairment               -            -            -            -

    Future tax rate
     reduction                      -            -      (33,700)       (0.25)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Adjusted net earnings
     and diluted EPS       $   40,771   $     0.32   $   41,659   $     0.32
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Twelve months ended
                                             December 31

                                    2008                      2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net earnings and
     diluted EPS - GAAP    $  178,135   $     1.37   $  192,833   $     1.47

    Reservation system
     impairment                     -            -       31,881         0.24
    Tax on impairment               -            -       (9,667)       (0.07)

    Future tax rate
     reduction                      -            -      (33,700)       (0.25)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Adjusted net earnings
     and diluted EPS       $  178,135   $     1.37   $  181,347   $     1.39
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    CASM:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Three Months Ended             Twelve Months Ended
                         December 31                     December 31

                    2008            2007            2008            2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Operating
     expenses -
     GAAP      $     558,186  $      476,471  $    2,256,631  $    1,826,255
    Adjusted
     for:
      Reservation
       system
       impairment          -               -               -         (31,881)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Operating
     expenses,
     excluding
     above
     items     $     558,186  $      476,471  $    2,256,631  $    1,794,374

    ASMs       4,288,054,528   3,818,613,107  17,138,883,465  14,544,737,340
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CASM,
     excluding
     above items
     (cents)           13.02           12.48           13.17           12.34
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Three Months Ended             Twelve Months Ended
                         December 31                     December 31

                    2008            2007            2008            2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Operating
     expenses -
     GAAP      $     558,186  $      476,471  $    2,256,631  $    1,826,255
    Adjusted for:
      Reservation
       system
       impairment          -               -               -         (31,881)
      Aircraft
       fuel expense (177,422)       (142,359)       (803,293)       (503,931)
      Employee
       profit
       share
       expense        (6,648)         (8,741)        (33,435)        (46,705)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Operating
     expenses,
     excluding
     above
     items     $     374,116  $      325,371  $    1,419,903  $    1,243,738

    ASMs       4,288,054,528   3,818,613,107  17,138,883,465  14,544,737,340
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CASM,
     excluding
     above items
     (cents)            8.72            8.52            8.28            8.55
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Conference call

    WestJet will hold a live analysts' conference call today at 9 a.m. MT 
(11 a.m. ET). Sean Durfy, President and CEO, and Vito Culmone, Executive
Vice-President of Finance and CFO, will discuss WestJet's fourth quarter and
year-end 2008 results and answer questions from financial analysts. The
conference call is available through the toll-free telephone number
1-800-731-5319. Participants are encouraged to join the call 10 minutes prior
to the scheduled start time at 8:50 a.m. MT (10:50 a.m. ET). The call can also
be heard live through an Internet webcast in the Investor Relations section of
westjet.com.

    About WestJet

    WestJet is Canada's leading high-value low-cost airline offering
scheduled service throughout its 55-city North American and Caribbean network.
Named one of Canada's most admired corporate cultures in 2005, 2006, 2007 and
2008, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. WestJet offers increased
legroom and leather seats on its modern fleet of 76 Boeing Next-Generation 737
aircraft, and live seatback television provided by Bell TV. With future
confirmed deliveries for an additional 45 aircraft, bringing its fleet to 121
by 2013, WestJet strives to be the number one choice for travellers.





For further information:

For further information: WestJet Media Relations, 1-888-WJ 4 NEWS
(1-888-954-6397), E-mail: ropalmer@westjet.com; WestJet Investor Relations,
1-877-493-7853, E-mail: investor_relations@westjet.com, Website:
www.westjet.com


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