UPDATE 1-WestJet allowed to boost passengers per flight attendant

Mon May 6, 2013 5:31pm EDT

TORONTO May 6 (Reuters) - Canada's aviation regulator has allowed WestJet Airlines Ltd an exemption from current rules so that it can boost the number of passengers each of its flight attendants may serve to 50 from 40.

WestJet, Canada's second-largest carrier, expects the change will cut costs once it has been introduced across its network, but it promised the change will not result in flight attendant layoffs.

"We will now work with our operations teams to determine when we can implement these changes, which will in turn determine when these savings will be realized," WestJet Chief Executive Gregg Saretsky said in a statement.

Transport Canada said on Monday it will now begin work on a regulatory change to allow all Canadian airlines to increase the maximum number of passengers a flight attendant may serve to 50 from 40.

The change, which is effective immediately, will bring WestJet in line with U.S. and other foreign airlines that fly to and from Canada that have a ratio of one attendant for every 50 passengers, Transport Canada said.

Shares of WestJet, which is expected to report first-quarter results on Tuesday, closed at C$24.72 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday, down 21 Canadian cents.

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