WestJet Q1 revenue rises, profit falls

CALGARY — WestJet Airlines Ltd. said Tuesday its first-quarter net income dropped 63 per cent from a year ago — in part because of the sudden departure of its chief executive officer.

CALGARY — WestJet Airlines Ltd. said Tuesday its first-quarter net income dropped 63 per cent from a year ago — in part because of the sudden departure of its chief executive officer.

The Calgary-based carrier earned $13.8 million, or 10 cents per share, compared with $37.4 million, or 29 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2009.

During the quarter, WestJet (TSX:WJA) booked a $3.7-million expense related to the resignation of Sean Durfy, who announced in March he was leaving to spend more time with his family. Durfy is expected to stay on in an advisory role until September.

The new boss, industry veteran Gregg Saretsky, has been in his role for just over a month.

In a statement, Saretsky said WestJet is happy it eked out a profit “especially in light of the challenging economic environment and rising energy costs.”

Stripped of one-time items, WestJet’s net income was $17.5 million, or 12 cents per share, compared with $35.2 million, or 29 cents per share in the first quarter of 2009.

Analysts were on average expecting earnings of 15 cents per share, according to estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.

WestJet revenue improved to $619.8 million in the first three months of this year, up seven per cent from $579.3 million in the first quarter of 2009.

Saretsky has said he wants WestJet to dominate half of the Canadian market, intensifying already fierce competition with Air Canada (TSX:AC.B). It currently has a 38 per cent market share in Canada. He also wants to see the airline expand its reach into U.S. and international markets.

Its expansion south of the border hit a roadblock earlier this month when WestJet and Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) ditched an agreement that would have seen two airlines sell seats on each other’s flights.

Southwest couldn’t accept changes it said WestJet had demanded be made to a deal the airlines first reached in 2008.

On the surface, the two airlines seemed like an ideal match. Both pride themselves on their cheery and easy-going corporate cultures and ability to provide low fares to their customers. Both keep their costs low by flying only one type of aircraft in their fleet — the Boeing 737.

WestJet said later it signed a agreement with Delta Air Lines with an option to acquire slots at LaGuardia Airport in New York, but an alliance deal has not been reached.

On the international front, WestJet already has plans to roll out code-share deals with Air France and the Netherlands’ KLM. Such deals allow one airline to sell seats on another, allowing passengers to travel relatively seamlessly between the two.

Building on that, WestJet wants to see traffic from Asia, South America and elsewhere in Europe come to Canada on its network.

WestJet shares were off 2.2 per cent, or 30 cents, at $13.40 on the Toronto Stock Exchange around midday Tuesday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Arshdeep Bains eyes a loose puck in front of the Medicine Hat Tigers net Saturday night in WHL action at the Centrium. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels fall short in 12th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 (Saturday) Tigers 3 Rebels 2 (Monday) The Red… Continue reading

Red Deer property owners will receive their 2019 property assessment notices in the next few days.  (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer awaiting more details on how federal budget impacts city

The City of Red Deer is awaiting more information on how much… Continue reading

With a ban on sit-in dining once again in place, Las Palmeras owner Andre Lemus is gearing up for more takeout and delivery business. He has also applied to set up an outdoor patio, where dining is allowed under new restrictions. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Big interest in outdoor patios in Red Deer as sit-down dining banned again

City of Red Deer has tweaked its patio regulations to make it easier to get a permit

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators' Connor Brown, right, scores on Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during second-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alta., Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Connor Brown scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 4-2 win over Calgary Flames

Connor Brown scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 4-2 win over Calgary Flames

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women's international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Priestman says her goal is to help Canada move up the Olympic podium after back-to-back bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Games. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rui Vieira
Olympic soccer draw will allow Canadians to start planning on and off the pitch

Olympic soccer draw will allow Canadians to start planning on and off the pitch

Federal government’s extension of CEWS in budget is some good news for CFL franchises

Federal government’s extension of CEWS in budget is some good news for CFL franchises

Canada's Brendan Bottcher dropped a 6-3 decision to Scotland's Bruce Mouat in the men's final of the Humpty's Champions Cup. Bottcher makes a shot against Scotland at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Friday, April 9, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Mixed results for Canadian teams at Champions Cup as Homan wins, Bottcher loses

Mixed results for Canadian teams at Champions Cup as Homan wins, Bottcher loses

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Stewart Cink watches his drive down the second fairway during the final round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament in Hilton Head Island, S.C., Sunday, April 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Cink coasts to win at Hilton Head for 2nd title of season

Cink coasts to win at Hilton Head for 2nd title of season

The Official UEFA Champions League match balls are on display ahead of the Champions League quarter final second leg soccer match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Threats of expulsion as UEFA confronts Super League rebel 12

Threats of expulsion as UEFA confronts Super League rebel 12

San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) motions to the crowd during a break to mark his passing Gordie Howe for most NHL games played in the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 19, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Sharks’ Marleau breaks Howe’s NHL games played record

Sharks’ Marleau breaks Howe’s NHL games played record

Most Read