02/06/2012 10:57 EST | Updated 02/06/2012 10:59 EST

Canadian Airlines Have Record January

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Canadian airlines say they saw record passenger load factors last month, which is usually a slow period for business travellers.

WestJet, Canada's second-largest airline, says its traffic improved in January with a record load factor of 79.9 per cent, compared to 77.8 per cent in the year-earlier period. It also said that it had 124,000 more passengers than last January.

Load factor is a closely watched airline metric that measures how full an airlines planes are by counting the number of seats sold on a flight versus the total number of available seats on any given plane.

Westjet recently announced it is considering adding a regional subsidiary airline. The Calgary-based airline also recently announced a code-sharing agreement with Delta Airlines that would expand its network into the U.S.

Air Canada says it also saw a record load factor of 79.1 per cent, up from 78 per cent. Canada's largest airline saw its system-wide traffic increase 3.3 per cent.

Air Canada flies to over 180 destinations on 5 continents.

Porter Airlines says load factor grew four per cent to 55.7 per cent, a record for the regional airline, which launched in 2006. Traffic at the airline increased 41 per cent from last year, flying 62.2 million revenue passenger miles.

The regional airline flies to destinations across Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States.