Category: Uncategorized
October 31, 2002

News Release: WestJet Announces Third Quarter Results: Twenty-Third Consecutive Quarter of Profitability

WestJet (WJA TSX) today announced that its net earnings for the third quarter of 2002 increased 76.3% to $23.1 million compared to $13.1 million achieved during the same period last year. In the first nine months of 2002, the airline's net earnings grew 55.1% to $42.5 million from $27.4 million during the first nine months of 2001. Operating revenue increased this quarter to $202.9 million, up 44.4% from $140.5 million attained in the third quarter last year. Year to date, operating revenue grew 45.8% to $503.7 million, an increase from $345.5 million during the same period in 2001. WestJet's diluted earnings per share rose 57.9% or 11 cents to $0.30 during the third quarter 2002, up from $0.19 during the third quarter of 2001. Year to date, diluted earnings per share have grown 46.2% or 18 cents to $0.57, up from $0.39 during the same nine-month period in 2001. This achievement came while the number of common shares outstanding increased to 74,893,984 at the quarter's end compared to 69,465,897 on September 30, 2001.

WestJet's capacity, measured in available seat miles (ASMs), grew this quarter by 55.7% to 1,305,629,722, from last year's 838,585,859 ASMs. Year to date, ASMs increased 55.8% to 3,315,372,381 from 2,128,423,499 ASMs during the first nine months of 2001. Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased 54.0% to 1,047,331,690 RPMs this quarter, up from 680,000,142 RPMs in the same quarter last year. For the first nine months of 2002, RPMs increased 53.0% to 2,485,526,830 RPMs from 1,624,849,894 RPMs during the first three quarters of 2001.

WestJet's load factor for the quarter has decreased slightly to 80.2% from 81.1% in the third quarter of 2001, while the year-to-date load factor was 75.0% compared with 76.3% during the first nine months of 2001.

Yield (revenue per revenue passenger mile) decreased 6.3% this quarter to 19.4 cents from 20.7 cents during third quarter 2001, down less than expected due to the airline's increased stage length. Year to date, yield is also down 4.7% to 20.3 cents from 21.3 cents during the first nine months of 2001. However, costs per ASM have decreased this quarter by 11.3% to 12.6 cents from 14.2 cents during the same period of 2001, again, a greater cost reduction than expected given the increase in stage length. Year to date, cost per ASM declined 7.8% to 13.0 cents for the first nine months of 2002, down from 14.1 cents in the first nine months of 2001.

Clive Beddoe, WestJet's Executive Chairman, President and CEO, commented this morning: "We are very pleased with our results for the third quarter of 2002, and the achievement of our twenty-third consecutive quarter of profitability. We are particularly pleased with our 46% year-to-date increase in diluted earnings per share (EPS) to $0.57 from $0.39 during the same period of 2001, which kept pace with our year-to-date revenue growth of 46%. This increase in EPS has been achieved in the face of an 8% increase in shares outstanding, and our 56% year-over-year capacity growth.

"These strong results have been achieved by our great team of people despite the fact that WestJet continues to operate in an environment of increasing costs and higher external charges and fees such as airport improvement, landing, and facilities fees, as well as the government's $24 round-trip Air Traveller's Security Charge. The destimulative effect of these costs has resulted in an overall 0.9 percentage point decline in our load factor during this quarter. Throughout the fourth quarter of 2002 we will continue to reduce capacity on our ultra-short-haul routes that have been most affected by these charges and fees, and re-deploy our capacity on mid- to long-haul routes across Canada.

"Now more than ever, Canadians are choosing WestJet for their air travel needs. We are proud to be this country's leading low-fare airline, and we look forward to connecting more cities and adding new destinations in the months ahead."

WestJet serves the 21 Canadian cities of Victoria, Comox, Vancouver, Abbotsford/Fraser Valley, Prince George, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, London, Ottawa, Hamilton, Toronto, and Moncton. WestJet is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WJA.

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Siobhan Vinish (Pronounced Sha-von)
Director, Public Relations and Communications
(403) 444-2615
(403) 444-2261 (FAX)
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