WestJet Capacity Increases 4.8%

WestJet plane

CBJ – WestJet Airlines says passenger demand keeps growing even as concerns mount about the impact on the Calgary-based carrier of a sluggish Alberta economy caused by the recent collapse in oil prices.

Passenger traffic increased 1.5% in March from a year ago, as a record 1.7 million people flew on the Calgary-based airline and its regional subsidiary WestJet Encore.

WestJet’s capacity grew 4.8%, causing its load factor — or the amount of seats that are used — to fall by 2.7 points to 81.3%, from 84% in March 2014.

Load factor is one of the statistics used by airlines and analysts to measure whether an airline has right number of flights and seating for the level of passenger demand.

WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky said load factors have been depressed by the industry’s increased supply of seats to some southern sun markets that has been rising faster than demand. Transat AT has said industry seat capacity to sun destinations was up 12% this winter.


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