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Air Canada, WestJet climb as traffic jumps in June


Both Air Canada (TSE:AC.B) and WestJet (TSE:WJA), two of Canada's biggest airlines, reported on Monday strong load factors for the month of June as traffic and capacity increased. 

Air Canada, the nation's largest airline, reported a record system load factor of 85.7%, as system-wide capacity, measured by available seat miles, climbed 9.8% and traffic increased 10.6%. The latest traffic results, as measured by revenue passenger miles, included Air Canada rouge, which began operations on July 1, it said. 

The results compare with a load factor of 85% for June 2013, according to the Canadian airline's statement, released earlier this morning. 

"System wide, traffic grew 10.6 per cent, led by the U.S. transborder, Atlantic, Latin American and Caribbean markets," said president and CEO Calin Rovinescu. 

"This is the third consecutive month Air Canada has set new records system-wide for passengers boarded, and on June 27 we achieved a new single day record of nearly 138,000 customers. These strong results demonstrate that we are effectively executing on both our international growth plan and on our Air Canada rouge leisure strategy, while we also continue to further strengthen our competitive position."

Air Canada, which serves more than 180 destinations on five continents, rose 1.7% in early trading Monday to C$10.22. So far this year, the stock has climbed more than 37%. 

WestJet, Canada's largest discount carrier, also announced Monday a record load factor of 77.4%, up 0.6% from the same time frame last year. Traffic increased 5% year-over-year, while capacity grew 4.3%. The airline set a new single-day record in June, flying more than 63,000 guests on Friday, June 27, the Calgary, Alberta-based airline said in a statement today.

"We are very pleased to report strong year over year traffic growth in June, a month in which we set a new single-day record, flying 63,756 guests on Friday, June 27, and successfully launched our first transatlantic service to Dublin, Ireland," said WestJet president and CEO Gregg Saretsky, in the release.

In the second quarter, WestJet flew nearly 4.8 million guests, a year-over-year increase of 6.2% or approximately 280,000 additional guests.

Shares of WestJet added over 2% Monday, to C$27.59 as of 9:35 am ET in Toronto, trimming this year's losses to 1.3%. 

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