British Airways has released its August traffic figures and estimates that the financial impact of the UK airport disruption was around £40 million.Summary of the BA headline figures reveals that in August 2006, passenger capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres, was 5.1 per cent above August 2005. Traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres, was higher by 5.0 per cent. This resulted in a passenger load factor down 0.1 points versus last year, to 77.8 per cent. The increase in traffic comprised a 9.5 per cent increase in premium traffic and a 4.4 per cent increase in non-premium traffic. Cargo, measured in Cargo Tonne Kilometres, rose by 3.5 per cent. Overall load factor increased by 2.2 points to 71.7 per cent.
During the period August 10-17 the airline cancelled some 1,280 flights as a result of the disruption at the London airports. The airline estimates that the financial impact for the month of August was around £40 million. This includes lost revenue and increased costs of hotel accommodation, catering and baggage repatriation.
Since the disruption there has been some impact on forward bookings. The overall level of bookings has returned to levels experienced last year, but is still weaker than the trend of the past few months. The recovery of premium and non-premium transfer traffic, for example, is lagging due to the limitations on carry on baggage at London.
Visibility is limited as airlines emerge from the issues surrounding the August security increases, but underlying market conditions continue to be good.
British Airways called on the Office of Fair Trading to refer its study on the UK airports market to the Competition Commission because of its concerns about current airport regulation and ownership.
The airline said separate ownership of London Heathrow and London Stansted airports should be considered because decisions on new runways in South East England should not be concentrated in the hands of one company.
In the event of a break-up of BAA, the airline said there will be a continued need for strong regulation to protect users against monopoly power, particularly at London Heathrow and London Gatwick.
The airline sold its Travel Clinic business to MASTA (Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad)
who will become British Airways Preferred Partner for travel health services from this month.
Meanwhile Alan McDonald, British Airways’ Director of Engineering, announced his retirement after 40 years at the airline. He will be succeeded by Garry Copeland, currently General Manager Quality and Engineering Services from September 15.
British Airways has also been nominated this year for a
World Travel Award as World’s Leading Airline.