WestJet (TSX: WJA) today announced its fourth quarter and year-end results for 2017, with full-year net earnings of $283.6 million, or $2.42 per diluted share. This compares with net earnings of $295.5 million, or $2.45 per diluted share reported in the full-year 2016. The airline achieved its 51st consecutive quarter of profitability, reporting fourth quarter net earnings of $48.5 million, or $0.42 per diluted share compared to $55.2 million, or $0.47 per diluted share reported in the fourth quarter of 2016. For the full-year and in each quarter of 2017, the airline flew a record number of guests. Based on the trailing twelve months, the airline recorded a return on invested capital of 10.0 per cent, down 0.2 percentage points from the 10.2 per cent reported in the previous quarter.
"In 2017, we continued our evolution toward becoming a global airline while flying a record number of guests and achieving our highest annual load factor in our history. We announced an agreement to enter a joint venture with Delta Airlines, which will give Canadians more access to our low fares and growing network. We also proudly took delivery of Canada's first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft this fall, and it was in service with high reliability before the busy holiday season," said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. "WestJetters care to the core by safely providing our guests with award-winning and friendly service every day. I thank each of the more than 13,000 WestJetters for their work and dedication this quarter, especially in light of the severe cold and weather-related operational challenges."
On February 5, 2018, WestJet's Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.14 per common voting share and variable voting share for the first quarter of 2018, to be paid on March 30, 2018, to shareholders of record on March 14, 2018. All dividends paid by WestJet are, pursuant to subsection 89(14) of the Income Tax Act, designated as eligible dividends, unless indicated otherwise. An eligible dividend paid to a Canadian resident is entitled to the enhanced dividend tax credit.