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WestJet announces record December load factor and 2008 traffic
WestJet has announced that its December 2008 traffic showed a record load factor of 80.9% for the month. Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased by 12.8% from 1.049 billion to 1.183 billion, while capacity, measured in available seat miles (ASMs), grew 10.6% from 1.462 billion to 1.322 billion.
For the full year, WestJet's RPMs rose by 17% from 11.739 billion in 2007 to 13.731 billion. ASMs increased by 17.8% from 14.545 billion to 17.139 billion. The resulting load factor of 80.1% for 2008 was 0.6 percentage points down on 2007's 80.7%.
"These are very strong results, particularly at a time when there remains some degree of uncertainty in many areas of the economy," said Sean Durfy, WestJet president and CEO. "Our results clearly demonstrate that our business model and strategy are set up to deliver shareholder value."
WestJet says it demonstrated its ability to deliver strong traffic results with "unparalleled action to care for guests during what meteorologists have called one of the worst periods of severe coast-to-coast winter weather in Canadian history". These actions included: providing hotel rooms, meal vouchers, taxis, chartered buses and third-party aircraft charters to care for guests and help get them to their destinations; implementing an offer where future travel credits were provided to guests willing to postpone or cancel flights in affected areas in the days leading up to Boxing Day; and working in real time with hotel partners and service providers to adjust the plans of WestJet Vacations' guests to deliver the experience they expect of the brand.
"I was extremely proud of our people this holiday season. We had hundreds of WestJetters who worked during their holiday break to make sure that as many guests as possible made it home at this special time of year," said Durfy. "I have received dozens of stories from across the country where WestJetters continued to work long past their shift time in order to make sure all guests were served."
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