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Old November 1st, 2005, 05:44 AM   #261
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Kamloops, B.C. Launches Campaign To Lure WestJet Flight
By Monica Gutschi
31 October 2005

KAMLOOPS, B.C. (Dow Jones)--This western Canadian city boasts a huge pulp-and-paper mill and an Olympic-standard ski hill. It has a spanking new university, a symphony and two live theaters. It's also a bustling railway hub with so many sports facilities that it will host the World Junior Hockey Championship next year.

City boosters say Kamloops has everything to attract businesses, tourists and families. But what it doesn't have is much choice in airlines.

And that's what city officials hope to change. They've launched an Internet campaign to convince Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA.T) to add Kamloops to its growing network.

"We feel that improved air service is the Number One economic driver," says Jeff Putnam, executive director of economic development agency Venture Kamloops. "Kamloops is a growing community with a growing economy. We are probably one of the largest Canadian cities that WestJet doesn't serve yet."

ACE Aviation Holding's (ACE.B.T) regional airline, Air Canada Jazz, flies into the southern British Columbia community four times a day from Vancouver, but only once a day from Calgary. It will add one weekly flight to Calgary during the winter to provide better connections for Europeans coming to Kamloops to ski.

Central Mountain Air provides service between Kamloops and the northern B.C. town of Prince George.

Kamloops officials believe the municipality needs more access to Calgary, a booming oil hub that is one of Canada's fastest-growing cities. Of the 5,700 city residents who have registered on the Web site www.kamloopswantswestjet.com , 64% said they would fly to Calgary two to five times a year. Nearly half would travel to visit friends and family while about 13% would travel on business.

A Calgary gateway would also open up eastern Canada for residents, Putnam notes. "There's a lot of pent-up demand for eastern Canada and the Prairies," he says.

Although Kamloops officials are also lobbying ACE Aviation for more flights to Calgary, what they most want is WestJet service.

They've seen how nearby Kelowna, B.C., a big tourist destination for Calgary's oil elite, has blossomed with the addition of WestJet service. WestJet offers three direct flights and four connecting flights daily between Kelowna and Calgary. ACE Aviation has three direct flights and six connecting flights a day. The city is also served by Horizon Air, Central Mountain Air and Harmony Airways and has air access to Vancouver, Edmonton, Seattle, Toronto, Honolulu and Las Vegas as well as a number of smaller B.C. towns.

Kelowna has ballooned to 105,000 inhabitants from about 75,000 only 10 years ago. Passenger volumes through the airport rose 3.6% in 2004 to 894,561.

Putnam says better air service is "an opportunity for people and business to move more readily." He believes the entry of WestJet to Kamloops would stimulate increased traffic because of the discount airline's "price point and philosophy."

He doesn't believe WestJet's entry will prove negative for Air Canada, but spark a more competitive environment and provide greater options for Kamloop's 82,000 residents. In preparation, the airport is lengthening its runway to accommodate wide-body, long-haul aircraft. "We just want them to know how badly we want them," Putnam says.

WestJet's chief executive, Clive Beddoe, says the Internet campaign is "flattering," but it won't necessarily get results.

"Only the economics sways us," he said in an interview. The airline is frequently lobbied by numerous cities hoping it will add them to its network. While the Kamloop's Internet campaign is one of the more creative pitches and a great boon for WestJet, Beddoe said the airline always does a careful analysis before initiating flights to a new location.

The discount carrier will be adding between seven and eight new Boeing 737 aircraft next year and does plan to add new Canadian and U.S. destinations to its network.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 12:40 PM   #262
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Westjet is a good airline, when I'm in Canada, I'll be sure to Travel westjet. Just with Canadian Airlines, They should be expanding their reach up to northern Canada, to Yellowknife, Whitehores, Iqualit and so on, even if it is a few flights a week, instead of leaving it for the Independant and Regional Carriers. But Westjet has abit more of a better regional Network than Air Canada (Mainline, not Jazz or such).
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 01:55 AM   #263
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Air Canada Receives Binding Arbitration Decision In Matter Of Boeing Widebody Order
1 November 2005

MONTREAL (Dow Jones)--ACE Aviation Holdings Inc.'s (ACE.B.T) Air Canada has received a binding decision by Martin Teplitsky resolving the matter of pilot costs and other issues relating to the airline's acquisition of Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft.

In a news release, Air Canada said Teplitsky's decision upholds the terms of the tentative agreement reached by the Air Canada Pilots' Association and Air Canada on June 9.

As reported, details of the tentative agreement weren't disclosed.

The airline said Tuesday that it's "pleased" with Teplitsky's decision, which provides the company with the "certainty" required on pilot costs relating to the acquisition of new Boeing widebody aircraft.

Air Canada said it can re-engage Boeing Co. (BA) to conclude an agreement on the acquisition of new widebody aircraft and move forward with plans for the airline's future.
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 01:56 AM   #264
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WestJet Seeks Growth In Markets Near And Far
By Monica Gutschi
1 November 2005

CALGARY (Dow Jones)--First, WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA.T) took on Canada. Now, it plans to take on the world.

Over the next few years, the Calgary-based discount carrier is setting into place the bases to carry more passengers, fly longer distances, establish a regional feeder network, and connect with international airlines.

"We're 30 million people in Canada," chief executive Clive Beddoe said in an interview. "So where do we grow?"

The answer, it seems, is globally.

Less than 10 years after WestJet began with three Boeing 737-200 planes, the "little airline that could" has not only outgrown its home region, but Canada itself. It now has a solid 30% share of the domestic market and a growing number of U.S. destinations, including Hawaii. But even though its Boeing 737 fleet doesn't have the range to reach beyond North America and the Caribbean, that's not stopping WestJet.

Early next year, it will launch a new reservation system that has been in the works for three years. The new system will allow WestJet to offer different fare classes with varying bundles of benefits, such as refundability, seat selection and multiple changes, all of which are now unavailable.

Its larger rival, Air Canada, a unit of ACE Aviation Holdings (ACE.B.T), already offers different fare classes, which Beddoe says allows it to gain a "fare premium" over his airline. The new system, he says, will "close that gap."

Under phase two, the new reservation system will also help WestJet eliminate another advantage that Air Canada now holds. It will allow WestJet to "host smaller airlines" on its network.

"By giving them access to our inventory, we will be building our own feeder network," Beddoe says. Alliances with small regional airlines throughout Canada will give residents in smaller, remote communities around the country the ability to book connecting flights on WestJet's main network.

Similarly, ACE Aviation's regional airline, Jazz, uses a mix of turboprops and regional jets to serve smaller communities and connect with Air Canada's broader network.

Eventually, Beddoe says, the reservation system will allow WestJet to form alliances with large international carriers to coordinate connecting flights globally.

In that way, the smaller airline can mimic Air Canada's broad domestic and international network without veering from its low-cost carrier roots - allowing it to keep one aircraft type, a relatively small administration, and fewer pilot bases.

More importantly, Beddoe says, it will allow WestJet to maintain its key advantage - its friendly and efficient culture - while closing the revenue gap on its rival.

"There's a collision occurring," Beddoe says.



Continues To Battle High Fuel Prices


Meanwhile, it continues to add new airplanes and should have 63 Next Generation Boeing aircraft in its fleet by the end of next year. The last four of its older and less-efficient Boeing 737-200 airplanes should be phased out by January and it is scheduled to take delivery of 11 new aircraft over the year.

Beddoe says the upgraded fleet should help WestJet buffer the continuing headwinds of high oil prices, as the newer aircraft use about 30% less fuel. He's also hopeful the crack spread - or the differential between WTI crude and jet fuel - will continue to ease.

Nevertheless, he acknowledges that fuel expense remains the company's biggest challenge. In fact, it contributed to WestJet posting two consecutive quarterly losses in the past year and has hung over its stock price in recent months.

WestJet shares touched a 52-week low of C$9.35 last week and are well below their 52-week high of C$17.29 reached in March.

The drop has caused some rumblings among WestJet ranks, as staff compensation is tied to the share price. About 86% of employees own company shares (a fact loudly touted in the airline's latest advertising campaign). However, Beddoe says employee purchases of shares has risen as the price has fallen. He sees that as a vote of confidence in the company's future.

And he does see "light at the end of the tunnel."

A fuel-hedging strategy and surcharges have offset some of the rising fuel costs, while the collapse of Montreal-based rival Jetsgo in March reduced some of the pricing pressure seen last year.

Although the initial shock of seeing prices surge in the wake of Jetsgo's demise hurt traffic, Canadians now appear willing to pay higher fares on the more-popular routes, Beddoe says. And he says WestJet has been reasonably successful in its campaign to attract business travellers, estimating they make up about 40% of the airline's passengers.

The rapid escalation of landing fees and other navigational charges has also become less of an issue, Beddoe says.

He believes the company could generate C$1.5 billion in revenue next year. It generated C$1.06 billion in revenue in 2004.

WestJet is to release its third-quarter 2005 financial results on Thursday.
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 10:45 AM   #265
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Air Canada moves prime international flights to Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson Airport

1 November 2005


Air Canada today welcomed the addition of ten new aircraft gates at Toronto's Lester B. Pearson Airport; a milestone in the redevelopment of Canada's largest airport that will ease the airport experience for many of the airline's customers flying to, from and via Toronto on international trips.

Effective today, the addition of international gates at Terminal 1 allows Air Canada to operate all of its prime international flights from Terminal 1 Pier E, eliminating ground transportation to and from the airport's Infield Terminal.

"The addition of international gates at Terminal 1 allows Air Canada to provide a more seamless travel experience for our international customers flying to, from and via Toronto, as well as our domestic customers connecting to Europe, Pacific and Latin America long haul flights," said Ben Smith, Vice President, Network Planning, Air Canada. "With more than 50,000 Air Canada customers flying to, from or connecting through our Toronto hub every day, same-terminal connections will contribute to the overall efficiency of our largest hub."

The next phase of redevelopment scheduled to be completed in 2007, will see the opening of Pier F at Terminal 1, at which time Air Canada's U.S. transborder flights will move from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1. In addition, new improved transit facilities will be in place allowing the airline to offer more seamless connections for its U.S. transborder and international connecting customers. The airline will also open two new Maple Leaf Lounges for U.S. transborder and international customers.

Air Canada customers currently enjoy a number of features in the new terminal that are geared to making their travel experience easy and efficient including: 30 conveniently located check-in kiosks; 88 check-in counters; a new customer service counter located at the gate area to facilitate changes to customers' travel plans; and Maple Leaf Lounges located in Terminals 1, 2 and the Infield Terminal.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 02:14 AM   #266
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ACE Aviation Sees New Boeing Planes Arriving In 2007
2 November 2005

TORONTO (Dow Jones)--ACE Aviation Holdings (ACE.B.T) hopes to receive the first of a batch of new Boeing 777 aircraft in early 2007, now that a US$6 billion order for the planes has been revived.

"All in all, given the delay, it's not a bad outcome," chief executive Robert Milton said Wednesday.

He said Alan Mulally, chief executive of Boeing Co. (BA), called late Tuesday to confirm his company is "still very much willing to live up to the deal" reached earlier this year.

In April, ACE Aviation announced it would buy 32 widebody aircraft from Boeing, with options to buy up to 64 more over the next 10 years. However, the deal was scrapped in June after the Air Canada Pilots' Association rejected the wage scales and working conditions offered to fly the fleet.

The dispute was later sent to arbitration.

On Tuesday, the airline announced that an arbitrator had resolved the dispute related to the acquisition of Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft. The ruling upheld the original agreement reached in June.

Milton said Boeing would respect the pricing and delivery flexibility of the original deal, although ACE Aviation has lost the first few delivery slots which were scheduled for 2006.

He said he hopes to receive between six and seven Boeing 777 aircraft in the first half of 2007, with the first delivery in January.

As well, Milton said the resolution of the pilot dispute will allow the airline to bring in used Boeing 777 airplanes during 2006. That could allow the airline to phase out some of its older Airbus 340s by the end of the year.

Corrected Nov. 2, 2005 15:42 ET (20:42 GMT) [ 11-02-05 1111ET ]

ACE Aviation Holdings Inc.'s (ACE.B.T) Robert Milton said Boeing would respect the pricing and delivery flexibility of the original deal, although ACE has lost the first few delivery slots, which were scheduled for 2006.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 02:15 AM   #267
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ACE Aviation Still Committed To Eventual Jazz IPO
2 November 2005

TORONTO (Dow Jones)--ACE Aviation Holdings (ACE.B.T) remains committed to an initial public offering of a stake in its Jazz regional airline, chief executive Robert Milton said Wednesday.

However, if the market outlook for income-trust structures remains uncertain, ACE Aviation could consider a straight share IPO for Jazz, he said.

ACE Aviation postponed an expected IPO for the Halifax, N.S.-based regional airline in September after the Canadian government announced it was suspending advance tax rulings on income trusts.

ACE Aviation had planned to offer a stake in Jazz as an income trust, much like its successful IPO of its Aeroplan loyalty program earlier this year. Under that deal, ACE Aviation raised C$287.5 million by selling 15% of the Aeroplan Income Fund (AER.UN.T).

Income trusts have been increasingly popular investment vehicles in Canada, with its aging population. Income trusts don't pay corporate taxes, allowing them to pay the bulk of their cash flows to unitholders.

But the Canadian government, which estimated it lost C$300 million in tax revenue last year due to company conversions, is now reviewing the income-trust structure with a view to changing tax laws. The move has put a damper on the popularity of income trusts.

Milton said ACE Aviation is awaiting more stability in the income-trust market before launching the Jazz IPO, and reviews the situation daily. He said if stability doesn't appear forthcoming, "we would look to" a straight share IPO.

He noted that Jazz has already completed all the paperwork necessary to offer shares to the public and said the company remains "ready to launch" on short notice when it determines an opportune moment.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 02:16 AM   #268
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ACE Aviation 3Q Oper Net C$320M
2 November 2005

MONTREAL (Dow Jones)--ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. (ACE.B.T) swung to a profit in the third quarter, reflecting passenger revenue increases in all markets and the absence of reorganization and restructuring items which were recorded in the third quarter of 2004.

Net income for the third quarter of 2005 was C$270 million or C$2.33 a share and included a provision for income taxes of C$128 million. This compared to a net loss of C$81 million which included reorganization and restructuring items of C$313 million recorded in the third quarter of 2004 and an income tax provision of only C$1 million.

In a news release, ACE Aviation said operating income was C$320 million for the latest quarter, an increase of C$77 million from the operating income before reorganization and restructuring items of C$243 million recorded in the third quarter of 2004. Per share figures weren't provided.

The Thomson First Call mean share earnings estimate for the latest quarter was C$1.48.

EBITDAR, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and obsolescence and aircraft rent, of C$550 million was achieved in the latest quarter, an improvement of C$36 million over the 2004 quarter.

Passenger traffic, as measured by revenue passenger miles, increased 9% on a capacity increase of 6%, as measured by available seat miles, resulting in a passenger load factor improvement of 2.0 percentage points, ACE Aviation said.

Operating expenses increased C$260 million or 12% over the third quarter of 2004 and included a fuel expense increase of C$213 million or 46% versus the 2004 quarter on a capacity increase of 6%, the company said. Excluding fuel expense, unit cost was reduced by 3% from the third quarter of 2004.

ACE Aviation is the parent holding company of airline Air Canada.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 04:29 PM   #269
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WestJet profit rises with fleet, traffic growth

MONTREAL, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Profit rose 44 percent at WestJet Airlines Ltd. as Canada's rapidly expanding No. 2 carrier flew more passengers and fuller planes, the company said on Thursday.

WestJet, which has expanded its network in the face of surging fuel prices, earned C$30.3 million ($26 million) or 23 Canadian cents a share, up from year-earlier C$21.1 million, or 17 Canadian cents a share.

Analysts were looking for the Calgary, Alberta-based no-frills airline to earn 21 Canadian cents a share in the quarter, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenues rose 31 percent to C$406 million from C$310 million.

WestJet's capacity rose 17 percent, while passenger traffic rose 20 percent. As a result, its load factor rose to 78.6 percent from 76.6 percent, which means the airline's planes flew fuller.

Yield, a key measure of revenues for each passenger mile, rebounded to 18.3 Canadian cents from 16.8 Canadian cents a year earlier, the company.

($1=$1.18 Canadian)
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Old November 4th, 2005, 05:06 AM   #270
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Will AC get it first 3 777s by early 2006?
And are also planning to lease 777s or buy used planes?

From what i looked at AC will start adding PTVs and refurbishing their international planes in september 2005 ut i'm not sure if its true or not but thats wat they said.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 05:37 AM   #271
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Yes, AC is looking at used 777s. AC said it will phase out some of its older A340s at the end of 2006, and bring in the new 777. The used 777 will be in AC hands mid 2006 for planned summer routes.

Recently I head AC will be putting PTVs starting Dec 2005.

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Old November 4th, 2005, 05:42 AM   #272
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They are first comming on the E190, which are due to arrive in either later this month or early December
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Old November 4th, 2005, 08:54 AM   #273
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Air Canada cuts free meals in Canada, U.S.
By BRENT JANG
Thursday, November 3, 2005 Page A10

TRANSPORTATION REPORTER

No hot meals, please. We're Air Canada passengers.

The country's largest airline has scrapped complimentary meals on its long-haul flights within Canada and the continental United States, leaving consumer advocates feeling rather empty.

Instead of free breakfast, lunch and dinner service, Air Canada is charging a loonie to $5 for a selection of snacks and cold sandwiches starting this week.

"The lack of hot meals over a trip from Ottawa to Vancouver is distressing, to say the least," said Harry Gow, co-founder of lobby group Transport 2000.


"As a passenger, I'm saddened. Paying for cold food on a long trip is inadequate. It doesn't cut the mustard."

Air Canada had eliminated hot meals on many of its short-haul North American routes as it struggled financially in 2003.

But its user-pay Onboard Café program has been expanded to include all economy-class seats (sometimes called hospitality class) on flights lasting more than 90 minutes in Canada and the continental United States.

The airline says its "buy on board" program boasts a "popular, innovative menu of reasonably priced items featuring brand, quality and choice."

Air Canada's website yesterday encouraged customers to "grab a snack from our all-day pantry."

The selection includes $1 for pretzels or breath mints, $2 for tuna salad or potato chips and $5 for a grilled chicken fajita sub or vegetarian pita wrap.

The website added that it's "cash sales only and taxes included in all prices."

Air Canada played down the change, pointing out that numerous U.S. airlines have jettisoned their free hot meals in favour of user-pay offerings of cold snacks.

"It's consistent with an industry trend to move toward giving customers the option of purchasing a meal when one is not provided," Air Canada spokeswoman Laura Cooke said.

Executive-class passengers will continue to receive complimentary hot meals on many long-haul flights within North America, and travellers to Hawaii, Mexico and overseas will be able to dig into hot meals as they did before.

As well, Air Canada passengers who pay higher fares will be exempt from coughing up their spare change for a cold sandwich.

Michael Janigan, executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Ottawa, slammed the reduction in food service.

"There's no end to the ingenuity of Air Canada to think up things to charge for," Mr. Janigan said, complaining that the airline began asking this week for a toonie for a "comfort zone" kit consisting of an inflatable plastic pillow and polyester blanket.

A spokeswoman for WestJet Airlines Ltd. said the discount carrier never offered hot meals in the first place because it's aiming for the lower-fare market.

Consumer groups add that pet owners howled with outrage recently when Air Canada raised rates to transport animals within Canada to $105 for a one-way ticket from $40.

Industry analysts say that Air Canada, which emerged from bankruptcy protection 13 months ago, operates in a fiercely competitive industry and needs to shave costs wherever possible.

Air Canada's parent company, ACE Aviation Holdings Inc., announced yesterday that it reaped an impressive $270-million profit in its third quarter, a vast improvement from its $81-million loss in the same period in 2004.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 05:34 PM   #274
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Westjet announced new routes today.

The carrier also announced new direct services Calgary-Fort McMurray, Vancouver-Las Vegas, Hamilton-Orlando and Winnipeg-Orlando beginning in January. It will increase capacity on several existing routes as well.

http://atwonline.com/news/story.html?storyID=2974
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Old November 4th, 2005, 07:04 PM   #275
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WestJet targets rival's fewer frills
Beddoe sees competitive edge as Air Canada cuts passenger perks

4 November 2005
The Globe and Mail

WestJet Airlines Ltd. expects to capitalize on Air Canada's shift away from being a full-service carrier, WestJet chief executive officer Clive Beddoe says.

With Air Canada cutting many of its frills, that should entice more passengers to fly WestJet, Mr. Beddoe said yesterday in an interview. “The reality is that the full-service and discount models are coming together.”

Mr. Beddoe pointed out that, while Air Canada has chopped certain services, WestJet has added some frills, such as individual TV screens on the back of each seat.

Air Canada's elimination of hot meals on its economy-class seats in Canada and the continental United States is one example of how WestJet is benefiting from its rival downgrading services, said Mr. Beddoe, noting that his airline has never offered such meals.

Calgary-based WestJet has a “buy on board” program, where passengers pay for snacks and cold sandwiches — a system that's being expanded at Montreal-based Air Canada and also in use at numerous U.S. airlines.

Looking ahead to his company's strategy to add more consumer-friendly services, Mr. Beddoe said WestJet plans to revamp its website to make it possible for its passengers to book hotel rooms and car rentals. That would be part of the fledgling WestJet Vacations Inc.

He made the comments after WestJet announced a 43-per-cent jump in its third-quarter profit. The airline overcame some of the sting of high fuel prices by boosting surcharges on base fares, using more fuel-efficient aircraft and buying hedging contracts.

WestJet earned $30.3-million or 23 cents a share, compared with $21.1-million or 17 cents in last year's third quarter. Revenue rose to $406-million from $310-million.

Mr. Beddoe said his company enjoyed a $55.8-million operating profit, giving it an operating profit margin of 13.7 per cent. That's higher than the 11.3-per-cent margin that Air Canada announced on Wednesday, when Canada's flag carrier boasted that, at the time, it had the best third-quarter margin in North America's airline industry.

“WestJet reported a higher margin, but Air Canada did very well, too,” said Jacques Kavafian, an analyst at Research Capital Corp.

Analysts say WestJet recognizes that many of its customers want some frills. WestJet is considering adding a range of options to lure passengers willing to pay extra for services. Some features, such as in-flight movies, likely will be introduced within weeks, and others could take a couple of years, such as Internet access and satellite radio.

WestJet doesn't carry pillows on its flights, so with Air Canada now charging $2 for a “comfort zone” kit consisting of an inflatable plastic pillow and polyester blanket, the gap has narrowed in that area of service, too, analysts say.

Ben Cherniavsky, an analyst with Raymond James Ltd., said WestJet's passenger loads should be healthy in the fourth quarter.

Yesterday, WestJet announced that its October load factor, or proportion of available seats filled, climbed to 73.5 per cent, from 68.7 per cent in the same month in 2004. The carrier's revenue passenger miles (RPMs), or the number of paid seats multiplied by the distance flown, rose 16.5 per cent to 665.6 million.

Air Canada said its October load factor increased to 77.9 per cent from 77.7 per cent, while its RPMs rose 4.9 per cent to 3.53 billion.

Mr. Beddoe said that in some instances, Air Canada has been undercutting WestJet's fares on routes where the country's largest airline senses it is losing market share, but the competitive environment is constantly changing, so he didn't wish to generalize about ticket prices.

He said WestJet monitors Air Canada's pricing practices daily, and “we may or may not adjust our fares, depending on how strong our bookings are.”

Air Canada president Montie Brewer said Wednesday that his airline isn't intentionally undercutting WestJet.
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Old November 5th, 2005, 03:46 AM   #276
chdig123
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I new 777s is most likely to have PTVs right but what about the used 777s?
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Old November 5th, 2005, 04:06 AM   #277
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I doubt it, but you never know
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Old November 5th, 2005, 05:15 AM   #278
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The used ones will come with the PTV's equipped with AC's new interior, seats and etc... The used 777 will be probably in AC's hand early summer 2006 for major asian routes. Since the PTV's get equipped during December, AC will enter the used 777s with PTV's.

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Old November 5th, 2005, 09:48 PM   #279
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I hope AC won't cut more free food on there flights!
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Old November 5th, 2005, 11:13 PM   #280
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If people will start paying $5 for a sandwich, will it at least be good? The stuff on VIA trains isn't great, even though it's expensive
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