WestJet aims for turnaround after turbulent year that saw profits plunge

WestJet aims for turnaround after turbulent year that saw profits plunge
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TORONTO — Westjet Airlines Ltd. says it aims to lift its lagging profits over the next four years, predicting earnings growth of 40 per cent on a per share basis between 2019 and 2022 after a turbulent year that saw profits plunge.

Soaring fuel costs, labour unrest, and steep competition at home and abroad caused Canada’s second-largest airline to incur its first loss in 13 years during the second quarter, followed by a steep year-over-year drop in the third quarter — which nonetheless bounced back into the black.

Chief executive Ed Sims said at a WestJet investor conference in Toronto Tuesday that revenues were “nowhere near” the company’s potential.

The Calgary-based company says strong demand, branded fares and ancillary fees will boost its revenue per available seat mile to between two per cent and four per cent in 2019.

Branded fares bundle in various perks — such as pre-reserved seats and baggage checks — at a higher total price.

Earlier this year, the airline launched transatlantic service on the first three of an expected 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in a bid for business passengers that attempts to challenge Air Canada’s transatlantic dominance.

Companies in this story: (TSX:WJA, TSX:AC)

The Canadian Press

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