WestJet extends term loan borrowings to 2031

A WestJet aircraft on climb after takeoff.
Photo Credit: Lewis Chesworth/ AviationSource

In a recent announcement, Canada’s WestJet Group Inc. has advised that it has extended the maturity of the substantial majority of its term loan borrowings to 2031.

This move represents a strategic step forward for the airline giant, positioning itself for greater long-term financial stability and flexibility.

We delve into the details of this latest development and its implications.

Ratings Upgrade and Financial Performance

WestJet’s decision to extend its term loan borrowings was underpinned by several key factors, chief among them being its ratings upgrade and robust financial performance.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, WestJet has demonstrated resilience and agility, surpassing its pre-pandemic earnings.

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Close up of a WestJet Boeing 737-700 on approach.
Lord of the Wings© from Toronto, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Innovative Financing Structure

The extension of term loan borrowings was facilitated through a new secured term loan facility, showcasing WestJet’s innovative approach to financial management.

This structure, secured by the company’s loyalty program and brand, not only enhances its financial flexibility but also underscores the strength and value of WestJet Rewards Loyalty program and the WestJet brand.

Strong Financial Position

With liquidity in excess of $2 billion and a pro forma adjusted net leverage ratio of approximately three times adjusted EBITDA at year-end 2023, WestJet stands firm on solid financial ground.

This robust financial position is a testament to the company’s prudent financial management and strategic decision-making.

Photo Credit: Martin Kulcsar via Wikimedia Commons.

Financial Management Amidst Pandemic Challenges

What sets WestJet apart is its proactive approach to financial management during the pandemic.

Unlike many other airlines, WestJet did not rely on sector-specific government aid, third-party debt, or equity issuance.

Instead, the company focused on maintaining a clean balance sheet, positioning itself to capitalize on growth opportunities as the industry rebounds.

The successful closure of the new facility also highlights the strength of WestJet’s partnerships, with Barclays Bank PLC playing a pivotal role as the sole administrative agent and structuring agent for the new facility.

A WestJet 737 approaches to land.
Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Summary

WestJet’s decision to extend the maturity of its term loan borrowings reflects its proactive approach to financial management and its commitment to long-term sustainability.

By capitalizing on its strengths, leveraging innovative financing structures, and maintaining a strong financial position, WestJet is poised to navigate challenges and seize opportunities in the present aviation landscape.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
3 Min Read
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