May 8, 2018 / 11:03 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Canada's WestJet Airlines misses profit estimates due to higher costs

(Compares with estimates, adds details on fuel costs)

May 8 (Reuters) - Canada's WestJet Airlines Ltd reported first-quarter profit that missed analysts' estimates on Tuesday as expenses rose due to higher fuel prices.

Airlines have been cutting costs and upgrading their fleets with fuel-efficient aircraft to battle rising fuel costs as oil prices rebound from multi-year lows in 2016 to touch $70 per barrel.

Fuel costs rose at a much faster clip than the carrier's revenue.

Fuel expenses jumped 19.3 percent to C$281.2 million in the quarter, while revenue per available seat mile - an important metric for Canada's second-largest commercial carrier - rose 2.5 percent to 14.84 cents.

WestJet said in February it expected first-quarter fuel costs to grow between 13 percent to 16 percent.

Excluding certain items, WestJet earned 32 Canadian cents per share, missing the average analyst estimate of 36 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company's net earnings fell to C$37.2 million ($28.66 million), or 32 Canadian cents per share, for the quarter ended March 31 from C$46.7 million, or 40 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 6.9 percent to C$1.19 billion

$1 = 1.2979 Canadian dollars Reporting by Akshara P in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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