Thursday, February 7, 2013

WestJet reports huge 2012 profits

Calgary-based WestJet posted a 2012 net profit of C$242.4 million ($242.8 million), up 63% from C$148.7 million net income in 2011. Its fourth-quarter net income leapt 71.3% to $60.9 million, on 10.1% higher revenues and a 54.6% lift in operating income.

During the year it added 13 new interline partnerships and is preparing to launch WestJet Encore, a regional turboprop airline, in the second half of 2013. It will announce the carrier’s first route schedule Feb. 11. In 2013 the carrier plans to evolve two to four interline agreements into new codeshares and pursue “a handful” of new interline relationships.

“Our positive momentum continues into 2013 as we launch WestJet Encore, add to and evolve our airline partnerships,” WestJet president and CEO Gregg Saretsky said.

The Canadian carrier’s full-year revenue lifted 11.6% year-over-year to C$3.4 billion, on an 8.4% rise in expenses to C$3.05 billion. Operating profit jumped 46.5% to C$375.7 million.

Saretsky said the fourth quarter “was an incredibly tough quarter operationally.” The carrier experienced “significant weather events,” at key domestic and international airports including 227 weather-related flight cancellations in December, compared to 45 in the year-ago month. These weather events contributed to a 13.9 point decline in its fourth-quarter on-time performance to 64%.

Full-year traffic lifted 8.1% to 18.26 billion RPMs on 4.1% growth in capacity to 22.06 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 82.8%, up 3.1 points. Yield grew 3.2% year-over-year to C$0.188. RASM was up 7.1% year-over-year to C$0.155 and CASM rose 4.1% to C$0.138.

In the 2013 first quarter, WestJet said it expects moderate RASM growth and margin expansion. For the full-year, it forecasts CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share, to increase 2%-3% year-over-year.

(Christine Boynton - ATWOnline News)

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