Canada's WestJet Airlines announced a 32 percent increase in second quarter net earnings to CAD$48.4 million (USD$38.6 million), on increased passenger numbers and revenue.
The result was WestJet’s 49th quarter of continued profitability as it increased revenue by 11.1 percent to CAD$1.06 billion. Operating expenses were up by 10 percent to just under CAD$977 million, with operating profit coming in at CAD$78 million, a 27 percent lift on the previous year quarter.
The Calgary-based carrier flew 5.9 million passengers in the quarter to end June, up 11.5 percent from 2Q16. It increased ASM capacity by 6.3 percent and saw RPM traffic rise by 8.9 percent. Load factor improved by 2 percentage points to 82.8 percent as a result.
RASM revenue rose 4.6 percent and CASM costs by 3.4 percent. Excluding fuel and employee profit share, CASM costs dropped by 0.9 percent on the same period last year.
The main increase in costs was for fuel, up 23.2 percent at CAD$225 million as the per litre cost of fuel rose by 17 percent from last year.
WestJet added four Bombardier Q400 aircraft to its fleet during the quarter and extended the leases on several Boeing 737s. It also ordered 10 Boeing 787-9s for delivery between 2019 and 2021 as it increases its flights on longer routes.
Looking forward, the airline expects third quarter system-wide capacity to be up between 5.5 and 6.0 per cent, and full year capacity growth of between 5.0 and 6.0 per cent year over year.
WestJet operates a fleet of 159 aircraft on flights to 101 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe.