Air Canada, WestJet See More Flyers

Canada's two major airlines, Air Canada and WestJet, both reported strong November operational statistics yesterday, although some of Air Canada's domestic capacity was shifted to its regional affiliate Jazz.

Air Canada, which is about four times as big as its closest domestic rival, flew 5.5 per cent more revenue passenger miles in November 2005 than in November 2004, according to preliminary traffic figures.

The Montreal-based airline reported a 12 per cent increase in transborder traffic between Canada and the United States, compared with November 2004, anda 19.1 per cent increase in passenger traffic on it transatlantic routes.

There were also smaller increases on Air Canada's transpacific and Latin American routes, which rose 5.4 per cent and 3 per cent respectively, but its domestic traffic levels declined 6.1 per cent as capacity was shifted to Jazz.

Jazz nearly doubled its passenger traffic to 248 million RPMs while increasing its capacity by 91.4 per cent to 358 available seat miles. Load factor at Jazz improved slightly to 69.3 per cent last month from 66.8 per cent in November 2004.

In comparison, passenger traffic on the main Air Canada lines within Canada was 815 million RPMs, down from 868 million a year earlier.

Air Canada's overall traffic, from domestic, transborder and international routes, increased to 2.88 billion passenger miles last month, up from 2.73 billion RPMs in November 2004.

WestJet's revenue passenger miles was up 29.3 per cent last month to 604.2 million, compared with 467.2 million in November 2004.

The Calgary-based airline noted its November 2004 results were unusually weak, due to a computer problem, but even so Research Capital analyst Jacques Kavafian said he was impressed by the growth at WestJet and Air Canada.

"The market is growing, so both airlines are doing well," he said.

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