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Old May 5, 09, 7:10 am   #1
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WestJet stays the course with profitable first quarter results


CALGARY, May 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - WestJet (TSX:WJA) today announced first quarter results for 2009. The airline reported net earnings of $37.4 million, or 29 cents per diluted share.

"Thanks to the continued hard work and dedication of our WestJetters, we once again differentiated ourselves as an industry leader, and we are extremely pleased with our strong start to 2009," commented Sean Durfy, WestJet President and CEO. "Our first quarter results demonstrate that our business strategy is staying the course; we successfully continued our growth and delivered profitable results while withstanding less than ideal economic conditions."

Compared to airlines who have reported their first quarter results, WestJet continues to have one of the best pre-tax margins in North America, having reported a first quarter earnings before tax (EBT) margin of 8.7 per cent.

"Our results reinforce the value of our healthy brand, unrivaled guest experience and commitment to being cost efficient," added Sean Durfy.
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Old May 5, 09, 10:33 am   #2
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I expect the 2nd quarter is going to be a bigger challenge (as Westjet alludes to) but at least Westjet has a cushion between their profit and loss position unlike AC.
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Old May 5, 09, 12:09 pm   #3
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WSJ: WestJet To Slow Growth Plans As Economy Hurts Outlook


Low-cost air carrier WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA.T) is cutting back on its growth plans for 2009 as the weak economy and flu pandemic concerns have sharply curtailed Canadian travel plans.

Calgary-based WestJet now expects to increase its capacity by only 3% this year, down from a planned 5%. For the second quarter, which began in April, growth will be cut to only 1-2%, down sharply from the 7.2% seen in the first quarter and an expected increase of 5%.

Chief Executive Sean Durfy said the outbreak of the H1N1 flu caused the airline to temporarily drop its Mexico routes, while intense competition combined with slowing demand has caused the airline to reduce less-profitable domestic routes.

"We're tweaking the schedule," Durfy said on a quarterly conference call.
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Old May 6, 09, 7:57 am   #4
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They are in a sweet position. Modest growth, double digit margins in the worst economic climate in a couple of generations, low costs and $850m in the bank.

Compare that to just about everyone else's dire predicament!
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Old May 6, 09, 1:20 pm   #5
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"WestJet's long-term growth game plan, meanwhile, will come from adding destinations and increasing frequencies domestically in Canada, where it makes sense.

Durfy noted WestJet flies to 55 different destinations but hits about 20 per cent of the potential market for its 737 aircraft.

That means 80 per cent of the market is open to it. This could see WestJet add six to eight U. S. destinations by 2013, along with 10 to 12 new Caribbean destinations by that same year."
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