Westjet packs ’em in

If you wanted to have that coveted middle empty seat next to you on Westjet last month, more often than not, you were out of luck.

Westjet reported today that its load factor reached record highs in August, with more passengers filling more seats than ever before.

Across the system, 88.9 per cent of all seats were full last month, compared to an average of a little more than 80 per cent of the seats during most of the year – despite the airline flying far more capacity than the year before.

In all, the airline reported flying almost 172,000 more passengers than in August 2011.

Westjet credits agreements with international airlines – including American and KLM – for boosting passenger numbers. The airline boasts that passengers gained access to another 48 destinations in the United States and Caribbean, thanks to those alliances.

“The demand environment remains strong,” said Westjet President Gregg Saretsky. “And we are seeing a growing contribution from our airline code-shares and interline partnerships.”

Westjet is planning major changes for the coming several months, including a regional division flying Bombardier Q400 turbo-props, and creating a Premium Economy section in the front of the plane, by squeezing leg room in the back.

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