November 22, 2006 14:39 ET

WestJet Responds to Montreal Economic Institute Report

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 22, 2006) - WestJet (TSX:WJA) commented today on the report issued by the Montreal Economic Institute regarding the excessive taxes imposed on the Canadian airline industry.

Sean Durfy, WestJet President stated today, "This third-party report issued by the Montreal Economic Institute corroborates that this problem is very real for all airlines in Canada. For WestJet, our ability to compete with U.S. carriers requires that the government act on the economic inequalities imposed by excessive taxes, security fees and airport rent. According to the study, industry-specific payments to the federal government rose by almost 20 per cent per year between 2000 and 2004/2005. Fuel taxes imposed on Canadian carriers are three times higher than those in the United States. These are but two examples of how our tax and fees structure is out of step with other industries in Canada and certainly needs to be brought in line.

"That WestJet has been profitable in this heavily-taxed environment speaks to the efforts of our WestJetters and of our efficient, low-cost business model. WestJet was the most profitable airline in North America in the third quarter, on a percentage basis, in spite of the lack of a level playing field. This speaks to the ability of our business model to perform well moving forward."

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.

Contact Information

  • WestJet
    Deborah Knight
    Manager PR & Communications
    (403) 589-5852
    (416) 200-3577 (FAX)
    Website: www.westjet.com