WestJet announces May load factor of 74.1 per cent



    Results driven by tough demand environment in airline's shoulder period

    CALGARY, June 3 /CNW/ - WestJet today announced May traffic results with
a load factor of 74.1 per cent. Revenue passenger miles (RPM) declined 5.8 per
cent year-over-year and capacity, measured in available seat miles (ASM), grew
1.2 per cent over the same period.
    "Seasonally adjusting our capacity makes May a challenging month for
WestJet," explained Sean Durfy, WestJet President and CEO. "Transitioning over
20 per cent of our capacity back to our domestic schedule in the May shoulder
period, coupled with the tough demand environment, impacted our revenue per
available seat mile (RASM) performance."
    "During this difficult part of the business cycle, our strong culture,
brand and financial health shield us from the full impact of the downturn,"
added Sean Durfy. "I thank our WestJetters for their relentless commitment to
providing a high-value guest experience, while at the same time focusing on
reducing costs."

    
                           May 2009 traffic results

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  May 2009           May 2008        Change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Load factor                     74.1%              79.5%       (5.4 pts.)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ASMs (billions)                 1.436              1.419            1.2%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    RPMs (billions)                 1.064              1.129           (5.8%)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Year-to-date 2009  Year-to-date 2008   Change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Load factor                     79.3%              81.6%       (2.3 pts.)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ASMs (billions)                 7.260              6.852            6.0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    RPMs (billions)                 5.758              5.589            3.0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Last year at this time, WestJet benefited from a healthier Canadian
economy and a fuel surcharge that contributed to its RASM.
    Sean Durfy commented on RASM expectations for the second quarter of 2009
by saying, "A continued weakened economy and aggressive pricing are leading to
reduced fare levels, making it a difficult quarter. RASM in the second quarter
is showing significant declines, with an anticipated drop of 16 to 18 per cent
year over year. While these challenges are comparable with what the North
American airline industry is experiencing, we believe we are better positioned
than most to return to stronger RASM results when the economy begins to
rebound."
    "This quarter we launched service to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
and Sydney, Nova Scotia domestically; and San Diego and San Francisco in the
U.S.," said Sean Durfy. "We continue to focus on adding destinations and
routes, rather than just increasing frequencies on existing routes. New
destinations leverage and enhance our already strong network."

    This disclosure contains forward-looking statements, including but not
limited to, statements regarding projected RASM for the second quarter of
2009. These forward-looking statements are based on WestJet's current
assumptions and beliefs. However, these forward-looking statements are subject
to, and may be affected by, numerous risks and uncertainties, some of which
are beyond WestJet's control. WestJet's results may differ materially from
those expressed in, or implied by, such statements. Factors that could cause
or contribute to these differences include but are not limited to: changes in
consumer demand, changes in fuel prices, general economic conditions, the
competitive environment and other factors described in WestJet's public
reports and filings which are available on WestJet's profile at www.sedar.com.
Forward-looking statements are subject to change, and WestJet does not
undertake to update, correct or revise any forward-looking statements as a
result of any new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be
required by applicable law.

    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 79 Boeing Next-Generation 737
aircraft and live seatback television provided by Bell TV. With future
confirmed deliveries for an additional 42 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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