WestJet reports May traffic with 74.1% load factor
WestJet has announced its May 2009 traffic results, featuring a load factor of 74.1%.
Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) declined 5.8% year-over-year to 1.064 billion from 1.129 billion and capacity, measured in available seat miles (ASM), grew 1.2% to 1.436 billion from 1.419 billion over the same period. While the load factor remained healthy at 74.1%, this was 5.4 percentage points down on last May's 79.5%.
"Seasonally adjusting our capacity makes May a challenging month for WestJet," explained Sean Durfy, WestJet president and CEO. "Transitioning over 20% 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 Durfy, before commenting on RASM expectations for the second quarter of 2009. "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% 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 US," Durfy continued. "We continue to focus on adding destinations and routes, rather than just increasing frequencies on existing routes."