CALGARY, March 18, 2019 /CNW/ - Today WestJet announced that following Transport Canada's safety notice closing Canadian airspace to Boeing 737 MAX aircraft until further notice, the Federal Aviation Administration's temporary grounding order and Boeing's decision to suspend all MAX deliveries to airline customers, it is suspending all 2019 financial guidance provided on December 4, 2018 and February 5, 2019. The financial guidance provided with respect to earnings per share (EPS), return on invested capital (ROIC) and cumulative free-cash flow over the period of 2020-2022 remains in place until further information is known.
Through proactive planning and preparation for a variety of scenarios, including grounding, WestJet enacted its contingency plan immediately and grounded all thirteen of its MAX aircraft within 55 minutes of Transport Canada's order with only three MAX aircraft outside of its Canadian jurisdiction. WestJet continues to implement and execute its contingency plan to minimize guest disruption and any financial impact. For the remainder of the first quarter WestJet expects it will be able to protect approximately 86 per cent of guests booked on MAX flights and cover approximately 75 per cent of the flights that were intended to operate on the MAX with other aircraft.
Caution regarding forward-looking information
Certain information set forth in this news release, including, without limitation, information underlying all of WestJet's 2019 guidance and guidance over the period of 2020 to 2022 with respect to earnings per share, return on invested capital and cumulative free cash flow, the continued implementation, execution and effect of WestJet's contingency plan and our expectations around ability and impact to guests and flights, is forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws. By its nature, forward-looking information is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond WestJet's control. The forward-looking information contained in this news release is based on assumptions regarding the terms of agreements which WestJet has entered into, WestJet's current forecasts and strategy, the timing and impact of WestJet's initiatives, the expected demand environment, access to financing and to infrastructure, the fleet and its utilization and operational performance, aircraft deliveries and option exercises, the forward-curve for jet fuel price, the expected exchange rate of the Canadian dollar to the U.S. dollar, expected tax rates, agreements and bookings, assessment of labour and infrastructure requirements, expectations around legislation and legislative changes, assessment of collective bargaining, assessment of legal proceedings, and other information underlying the targets contained herein, but may vary due to factors including, but not limited to, length of time of, and/or any changes to the decisions, parameters and/or applicability of, the decisions of Transport Canada, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or Boeing, changes in guest demand, changes in fuel prices, delays in aircraft delivery, general economic conditions, competitive environment, ability to effectively implement and maintain critical systems, material adverse regulatory changes, and other factors and risks described in WestJet's public reports and filings which are available under WestJet's profile at sedar.com. Readers are cautioned that undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking information as actual results may vary materially from the forward-looking information. WestJet does not undertake to update, correct or revise any forward-looking information as a result of any new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable law.
Together with WestJet's regional airline, WestJet Encore, we offer scheduled service to more than 100 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe and to more than 175 destinations in over 20 countries through our airline partnerships. WestJet Vacations offers affordable, flexible vacations to more than 60 destinations and the choice of more than 800 hotels, resorts, condos and villas. Members of the WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more. Members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of flights and vacations packages to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods, and have access to Member Exclusive fares offering deals to WestJet destinations throughout our network and those of our partner airlines.
WestJet is proud to be recognized as Best Airline in Canada and Travellers' Choice winner – North America for 2017 and 2018 in the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Airlines. The airline was also named the Travellers' Choice Winner – Economy, North America, 2018. All awards are based on authentic reviews from the travelling public on TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site. We are one of very few airlines globally that does not commercially overbook.
Recent recognition includes:
2018 Best Low-Cost Airline in North America (Skytrax)
2018/2017 Best Airline in Canada and Travellers' Choice Winner Mid-Sized and Low Cost Airlines – North America (TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Airlines)
2018 Travellers' Choice Winner – Economy, North America (TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards for Airlines)
2017/2016 Canada's Most Trusted Airline (Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria)
2016 Canada's most reputable company for Corporate Social Responsibility (Reputation Institute)
2016/2015/2014/2013/2012 Ranked top three for Canadian Brands (Canadian Business Magazine)
2016/2015/2014/2013 WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard ranked #1 in Canada (MoneySense magazine)
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SOURCE WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership
For further information: WestJet Media Relations, 1-888-WJ-4-NEWS (1-888-954-6397), Email: [email protected], Website: www.westjet.com; WestJet Investor Relations, 1-877-493-7853, Email: [email protected]