November 16, 2006 15:08 ET

WestJet Leads North American Airline Industry in Percentage Earnings

WestJet also honoured with Most Admired Corporate Culture Award in Canada and is in the Top Three of Best-Managed Canadian Brands in 2006

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 16, 2006) - WestJet (TSX:WJA) is North America's most financially successful airline, leading the industry in percentage earnings after reporting record third quarter earnings margin. Based on reported 2006 third quarter results, WestJet's pre-tax margin is 16 per cent, outperforming all other North American carriers on a percentage basis. WestJet's available seat mile (ASM) growth for the third quarter was 17.3%, placing the airline among the top North American carriers for seat capacity growth.

As WestJet proceeds through the fourth quarter, the Company anticipates similar year over year revenue per available seat mile, driven by load factor and fare levels, with a 23% increase in seat miles flown year over year.

Seasonally, WestJet matches capacity with demand, thereby achieving strong load factors and yield. "Our success this year and particularly in the third quarter is a clear indication that our network deployment approach is working and on track," said Chris Avery, Director, Network and Schedule Planning.

"WestJet leads the North America airline industry in earnings margin due to our successful implementation of the three key elements of our plan - strategic network deployment, award-winning corporate culture and guest service, and our consistent alignment with our low cost business model," said Sean Durfy, President. "I am pleased with the efforts and commitment of our 5,400 employees who embody our values and help us to achieve these financial goals and contribute daily in creating our fun and friendly company. WestJet has fostered a unique friendly and caring culture for its guests and its people that sets us apart in corporate Canada."

In the 2006 Canadian Corporate Culture Study™ conducted by Waterstone Human Capital, WestJet won the award for Most Admired Corporate Culture for the second year in a row as selected by over 185 top executives across Canada. WestJet's Sales Super Centre was also recently named Best Call Centre in the country in an airline survey conducted by Canadian Business Magazine's consumer reports department. WestJet was also among the top three of Canada's Best Managed Brands in an annual survey conducted by Cundari SFP and Canadian Business Magazine up from seventh place a year ago.

"The strength of our corporate culture is a fundamental competitive advantage. We strive to maintain this culture, where employees are committed to living the values, and passionately pursuing the company's objectives and mission," said Bob Cummings, Executive Vice President, Guest Experience and Marketing. "As we approach 2007, I look forward to WestJet's continued financial success. With recent trends in consumers taking mini vacations as well as decreasing fuel prices, WestJet is well-positioned to take advantage of these trends and continue to deliver solid performance."

Marking its tenth anniversary this year, 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.

A chart outlining comparative pre-tax margin for North American carriers in the third quarter is available on CCNMatthews' website: http://www.ccnmatthews.com/docs/wjachart.pdf

Contact Information