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WestJet fourth-quarter profits down compared to same time last year

A pilot taxis a Westjet Boeing 737-700 plane to a gate after arriving at Vancouver International Airport. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

WestJet Airlines Ltd. saw its fourth-quarter profit fall compared with a year ago as its costs rose.

The airline says it earned $48.5 million or 42 cents per diluted share for the last three months of 2017, down from a profit of $55.2 million or 47 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

Revenue totalled nearly $1.12 billion, up from nearly $1.02 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The average analyst estimate had been for a profit of 42 cents per share and revenue of $1.11 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

The results came as WestJet’s cost per available seat mile rose 5.5 per cent to 13.57 cents, up from 12.86 cents in the fourth quarter of 2016. Excluding the cost of fuel and employee profit sharing, the cost per available seat mile increased 3.6 per cent to 10.23 cents compared with 9.87 cents a year earlier.

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WestJet grew capacity measured by available seat miles by 5.6 per cent compared with a year earlier, while traffic measured by revenue passenger miles climbed 8.8 per cent.

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