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Air Canada rises on record January load factor


Air Canada (TSE:AC.B) shares were boosted on Thursday as Canada's biggest airline reported a record system load factor of 80% in January, up from 79.4% in the same month a year earlier. 

Overall, or system wide, capacity increased 3%, while system traffic for January rose 3.7%. 

Air Canada reports traffic results on a system-wide basis, including Air Canada rougeTM, which began operations on July 1, 2013, and regional airlines from which Air Canada purchases capacity. 

"Air Canada generated greater traffic for the month of January in all markets the airline serves with system wide growth of 3.7 per cent on a capacity increase of 3 per cent, led by increases in traffic in Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. transborder markets," said president and CEO Calin Rovinescu. 

In Canada, traffic increased 0.7%, while U.S. transborder traffic rose 5.6%. Latin America and Carribbean traffic jumped 6%. 

The company's biggest rival, WestJet Airlines (TSE:WJA), said its planes flew 80.9% full in the month, flat with the year-ago record figure for January. The company said that revenue passenger miles, or traffic, increased 8.4% year-over-year, while capacity grew 8.3%. 

Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and international airline serving more than 175 destinations on five continents. It provides scheduled passenger service directly to 60 Canadian cities, 49 destinations in the United States and 67 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. 

The company's stock rose 3.5% in Toronto on Thursday, to C$7.75 as of 11:15am ET. 

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