Air Canada flies fuller planes, WestJet doesn't
October 6, 2005
Air Canada, the country's biggest airline, flew fuller planes in September, but there were more empty seats at rival WestJet Airlines as the no-frills carrier added capacity.
Air Canada, the operating unit of ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. , said on Thursday its passenger load factor, a measure of how successfully it filled seats, was 80.4 percent last month. This was its highest rate for September, and compares with a load factor of 79.2 percent a year earlier.
The airline, based in Montreal, said September was the 18th consecutive month in which it achieved record load factors.
Network-wide, Air Canada's passenger traffic rose 8.8 percent, while capacity increased 7.2 percent.
At Calgary-based WestJet, the load factor for September fell to 70.9 percent from 71.3 percent last year as the airline added capacity. Traffic jumped 17.6 percent and capacity increased 18.3 percent.
"These numbers indicate the capacity we are adding into the system continues to be absorbed by the market," WestJet chief executive Clive Beddoe said on Thursday.
WestJet also said it will buy an additional Boeing Next-Generation 737-700 aircraft by converting a purchase option with Boeing into a firm delivery. WestJet expects the plane to be delivered in December 2006.
Next year, WestJet said it is scheduled to receive 10 737-600 deliveries and two 737-700 deliveries.
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