Intra-European airline traffic up 8.5%

The number of scheduled passengers carried by ERA airlines grew 8.5% in the first quarter of 2006 - an almost 4 point rise from the 4.8% growth recorded for the same period in 2005.  Meanwhile, seat km growth was 7.3%, a marginal increase on the 7.2% reported last year, suggesting that airlines have kept capacity at 2005 levels.

Passenger load factor continues to grow, with a high of 60.5% recorded for the month of March, while the average for the quarter showed a slight increase to 57.9% (from 57% in 2005).  This is again the highest load factor for the first quarter on ERA record.  Hours and landings achieved growth of 2.4% and 1.8% respectively.

Scheduled passenger kilometers flown (RPKs) almost matched passenger growth, reaching 8.4% for the period, down from 9.7% in 2005.

A small decline was reported for on-time departure punctuality with 83% of flights departing on time compared to 85% last year.  However, 97.4% (96.8% last year) of flights were operated this quarter with only 2.6% of flights being cancelled.

ERA director general, Mike Ambrose, commented: “These figures show that demand for air travel within Europe is high, but that ERA airlines are meeting this demand without increasing capacity at the same rate, once again demonstrating their flexibility, adaptability, cost efficiency and environmental sensitivity.”