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Report on Business Canadian airfares rising more than 10 per cent in third quarter: survey

A Westjet Boeing 737-800, left, taxis past an Air Canada Rouge Airbus A319 at Vancouver International Airport.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

An RBC survey says airfares rose by more than 10 per cent in the first two months of the third quarter as Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. passed along higher crude oil prices.

Despite slipping a bit in August, fares rose 12.5 per cent at Air Canada for July and August and were 11.3 per cent higher than a year earlier at WestJet.

The country’s two largest airlines implemented fare increases in July, mostly on domestic routes.

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Analyst Walter Spracklin says he expects fares will increase further, with Air Canada likely being more aggressive in passing along oil price increases.

He says Calgary-based WestJet is likely still recovering from weak booking levels resulting from the threat of a pilot strike.

Passenger traffic remains strong with WestJet reporting 8.1-per-cent growth in August, less than the capacity growth of 10 per cent.

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