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Canada’s two largest airlines report increased traffic, higher load factors

Air Canada’s traffic grew 11 per cent, boosting its load factor to a record 85.7 per cent.

Timothy McGuire/Boeing

Canada's two largest airlines reported increased traffic in June and higher load factors amid growing numbers of Canadians taking to the skies.

Air Canada's traffic grew 11 per cent, boosting its load factor to a record 85.7 per cent.

Part of those numbers included a record single day on June 27, when 138,000 people flew on the Montreal-based airline's routes. The carrier increased its capacity by 10 per cent last month.

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WestJet Airlines Ltd. said its traffic grew 5 per cent, pushing the Calgary-based carrier's load factor to 77.4 per cent, up 0.6 per cent from a year earlier.

WestJet increased capacity by 4.3 per cent.

The increase in WestJet's traffic included its first transatlantic flights, with the beginning of service to Dublin on June 27.

The WestJet results led industry analyst Cameron Doerksen of National Bank to raise his forecast for second-quarter results and his target price for the company's shares to $30 from $29.

"Our positive view is based on what appears to be a strengthening in domestic airfares and some stability in both fuel prices and costs that have been impacted by a weaker Canadian dollar," Mr. Doerksen said in a research note on Monday.

Analyst Chris Murray, who follows the airlines for AltaCorp Capital in Toronto, said the Air Canada results exceeded his expectations.

He said he expects strong bookings to be maintained through the summer travel season.

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About the Author
Auto and Steel Industry Reporter

Greg Keenan has covered the automotive and steel industries for The Globe and Mail since 1995. He also writes about broader manufacturing trends. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and of the University of Western Ontario School of Journalism. More

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