Effective Jan. 19, 2011, WestJet will begin charging travellers $20 for a second checked bag. According to reports, the move is part of a search for new revenue sources as the airline begins to pay a dividend to shareholders for the first time in its history. It’s projected the new baggage charge will generate an extra $8 million to $10 million in revenues per year. WestJet already charges for third and fourth checked bags, a fee that will be reduced from $75 to $50.
In other news, WestJet has reported October 2010 traffic results with a load factor of 77.4%, up 0.1 points year over year. Revenue passenger miles (RPMs), or traffic, increased 13.4% year over year. Capacity, measured in available seat miles (ASMs), grew 13.3%. More than 99,000 additional guests flew with WestJet in the month of October.
“We have continued with our strategic growth and are pleased with October’s load factor given the additional capacity we’ve added to our network. The increase in guests demonstrates that our increased capacity is being absorbed. Advanced bookings are looking positive as well,” said WestJet president Gregg Saretsky. The airline set a new single-day record with 49,545 guests travelling on board flights in WestJet’s network leading into the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.