WestJet posts big gains, regional plan moves ahead

WestJet has reported both its fourth quarter and year-end results for 2011, turning in fourth quarter net earnings of $35.6 million, or $0.26 per share and full-year net earnings of $148.7 million, or $1.06 per share; that’s up significantly from the net earnings of $90.2 million, or $0.62 per share, reported for 2010. WestJet’s operating cash flow per share for the full-year 2011 was $3.60, an increase of 25% compared to last year. Not surprisingly, the carriers is “very pleased” with its results, with WestJet president and CEO, Gregg Saretsky observing, “We managed to cover the elevated fuel costs with our revenue growth and improve our profit margin on a full-year basis. Low-cost continues to be our focus and I am proud of WestJetters for their efforts throughout 2011 to keep controllable costs per unit relatively flat, while at the same time delivering a remarkable guest experience.” Sarektsky also revealed that in response to the carrier’s Jan. 16, 2012 announcement that it was looking at the possibility of launching a new low-cost short-haul, regional airline, WestJet staff have provided their input and voted overwhelmingly in favour of the strategy. “With resounding support from WestJetters, the leadership team and the board have made the decision to move ahead with plans to launch a new low-cost regional airline that will replicate our success in stimulating demand by bringing low fares to many new communities,” the carrier’s boss said. Go to for further details.