January 04, 2007 08:30 ET

WestJet Ends 2006 With Record Year-to-Date Load Factor of 78.2 Per Cent

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 4, 2007) - WestJet (TSX:WJA) today announced December traffic results posting a record year-to-date load factor of 78.2 per cent, compared to 74.6 per cent in 2005, an increase of 3.6 percentage points. Load factor for the month of December was 78.0 per cent compared to 78.2 per cent in 2005.

"Our 2006 performance highlights our ability to consistently operate within the optimal load factor range that allows us to deliver an exceptional guest experience while maintaining industry leading operating performance," commented Sean Durfy, President of WestJet.

Capacity, measured in available seat miles (ASMs) rose to 1,148.3 million in December 2006, compared to 942.2 million in 2005, an increase of 22 per cent. Year to date, ASMs increased to 12,524.4 million from 10,673.0 million in 2005, an increase of 17 per cent.

"December's load factor of 78 per cent shows our continued momentum as we consistently absorb the amount of seats we add to the market with every new aircraft. We are very pleased with our load factor, as well as our revenue per available seat mile (RASM) which was consistent with our expectations for December," added Sean Durfy. "Our strong results, throughout 2006, can be attributed to our exceptional guest service, our further penetration in the Eastern markets and our strategy to match our route scheduling to the demand in the market. With over 20 per cent of our capacity planned for our U.S. and Caribbean destinations during peak winter travel time, our deployment strategy is positioning us to deliver favourable Q1 results."

Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) for December 2006 rose to 895.7 million compared to 737.1 million in 2005, an increase of 22 per cent. Year to date, RPMs increased 9,791.9 million from 7,957.7 million in 2005, an increase of 23 per cent.

WestJet is Canada's leading low-fare airline offering scheduled service throughout its 35-city North American and Caribbean network. Named Canada's most admired corporate culture in 2006, WestJet pioneered low-cost high-value flying in Canada. With increased legroom and leather seats on its modern fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, and live seatback television provided by Bell ExpressVu on the majority of its fleet, WestJet strives to be the number one choice for travellers.

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