The FINANCIAL — WestJet on March 8 announced record February 2018 traffic results with a load factor of 86.4 per cent, an increase of 1.2 percentage points year-over-year.
Revenue passenger miles (RPMs), or traffic, increased 6.1 per cent year over year, and capacity, measured in available seat miles (ASMs), grew 4.6 per cent over the same period. WestJet flew a record 1.9 million guests in February, a year-over-year increase of 6.5 per cent or approximately 120,000 additional guests, according to WestJet.
Driven by the compounding effect of significant weather events across the country, we now expect year-over-year RASM growth for the first quarter of 2018 of up 2.5 to 3.5 per cent and Domestic capacity of up 5.5 to 6.5 per cent down from our previous guidance of up 4.5 to 5.5 per cent and 7.5 to 8.5 per cent respectively. WestJet experienced twenty-five days of irregular operations in the first two months of 2018 with January representing the single highest month over the past four years. The severity and length of weather events limited options for guest recovery, reduced revenues from providing WestJet guests with atonement, drove higher guest cancellations and impacted the ability to capture revenue from last minute high-yield bookings. We continue to expect all other guidance to remain in line with disclosure provided in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Operating Results for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016.