WestJet Airlines Ltd. says net income in the third quarter was $65.1 million, a decline of 7.8 per cent from the same time last year but slightly better than expected.

WestJet's net income amounted to 50 cents per diluted share, down from 52 cents a year earlier.

Analysts had looked for 48 cents per share on an adjusted basis and 49 cents per share under standard accounting, according to estimates from Thomson Reuters.

Revenue higher

The Calgary-based airline's total revenue grew to $924.8 million from $866.5 million a year earlier, an increase of 6.7 per cent.

However, WestJet's operating expenses increased even more to a total of $825.8 million from $758.5 million, an increase of 8.9 per cent.

During the quarter, WestJet continued to roll out its new Encore regional service, which began flying at the end of the second quarter.

WestJet Encore added Brandon, Man., to its destinations on Sept. 3 and Terrace, B.C., will join the list of communities on Nov. 25.