WestJet posts busiest January ever despite declining demand for Alberta flights
Airline shifting focus to Central Canada while cutting flights out of Calgary and Edmonton
Calgary-based WestJet posted a record month for total travellers in January, despite declining business-related travel within and into Alberta.
Overall, the airline flew 1.7 million passengers in January, up 7.4 per cent, from the same month last year.
That's the most passengers WestJet has flown in any January since its inception, the company announced.
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Justin Trudeau to meet with oil and gas execs in Calgary
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Suncor posts $2 billion loss in last quarter of 2015
WestJet also posted a load factor of 80.1 per cent in January.
The strong month comes in spite of declining demand for flights within Alberta.
Just last week, WestJet announced plans to reduce the number of planes it flies out of Calgary and Edmonton, dropping one daily flight in each direction from the schedule.
The cuts will also see all service from Calgary to Terrace and Prince George cancelled and service reduced from Calgary to Brandon, Penticton and Fort McMurray.
At the same time, the airline plans to beef up its schedule out of Toronto.
Air Canada also posts busy January
The country's biggest airline, Air Canada, said overall passenger traffic in January was up 7.1 per cent from the same month a year earlier. It credits more seat capacity and a record-tying load factor.
Montreal-based Air Canada's January load factor of 80.1 per cent was identical to WestJet's.
The airline said it generated more traffic in all the markets it serves, led by Atlantic, Pacific, Latin American and Caribbean routes.