WestJet reports record earnings of $269M for 2013

WestJet reported record earnings of $268.7 million for 2013 on Tuesday and said it would be passing some of that good fortune on to its investors by increasing its quarterly dividend by 20 per cent.

The net earnings rose 10.9 per cent over 2012, when the airline earned a total of $242.4 million.

Earnings in the last quarter of 2013 were up by more than 11 per cent to $67.8 million, or 52 cents per diluted share,

"This represents WestJet's 35th consecutive quarter of profitability, and based on the trailing 12 months, the airline achieved a return on invested capital of 13.9 per cent, compared with the 13.8 per cent reported in the previous quarter," the airline said in a press release announcing the end-of year results.

WestJet said it flew 18,485,144 passengers in 2013, about a million more than in 2012, and its load factor for the year was down slightly at 81.7 per cent, compared to 82.8 per cent in 2012.

The load factor is a closely watched industry metric that tracks the percentage of passengers in available seats across all of an airline's flights during a given period.

WestJet said it expects continued strong traffic and revenue growth in the first quarter of 2014 and continued earnings growth for the full-year 2014.