Airlines report stronger traffic in November

Three of Canada’s largest airlines reported strong passenger traffic in November.

TORONTO — Three of Canada’s largest airlines reported strong passenger traffic in November.

Air Canada (TSX:AC.A) says system traffic was up 3.0 per cent from November 2010, lead by increases in its domestic markets and transborder flights to the United States.

WestJet (TSX:WJA) reported its revenue passenger miles, or traffic, increased 4.4 per cent year over year.

Meanwhile, WestJet’s its load factor — or proportion of seats filled — held steady at 77.6 per cent in November.

That was WestJet’s second-best November yield ever and just below the record 77.7 per cent a year ago.

Air Canada, which is the country’s largest airline, said its system load factor was 75.9 per cent, up from 74.8 per cent in November 2010.

Porter Airlines reported record November load factor of 65.9 per cent, 11.9 points higher than the previous year.

Passenger numbers also set a new high for the month at 213,969.

Capacity, measured in available seat miles, grew 4.5 per cent over the same period.

The airline says it flew an additional 51,000 guests this November compared to November of last year.

“Achieving our second-highest November load factor, as we continued to grow capacity, is an accomplishment of which we’re very proud,” said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky.

“We are noticing a slight shift in booking patterns this holiday season with more travel spilling into January as school breaks are starting later in December,” Saretsky said.

The airline now projects fourth quarter 2011 revenue per available seat mile to grow between four and five per cent.

At Porter, available seat miles increased 20.7 per cent to 118.6 million and revenue passenger miles grew 47.3 per cent from a year ago.

“As we move into the holiday travel season, these results indicate that we will finish the year in much the same way that we started it, with impressive year-over-year growth and exciting momentum,” said Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines.