Traffic And Capacity Statistics - March 2001

Summary of the headline figures
Capacity in March, measured in Available Seat Kilometres, was 6.6 per cent below March 2000. Traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres, fell 8.9%. This comprised a 3.0 per cent decline in premium traffic, following an 8.5 per cent increase last March, and an 10.1 per cent fall in non-premium traffic. Passenger load factor of 70.0 per cent was 1.8 points lower than March 2000. Cargo, measured in Cargo Tonne Kilometres, decreased by 3.8 per cent.

For the financial year ended March 31, 2001 ASKs were down 3.3% and RPKs were down 0.7% while seat factor rose 1.9 points against the previous year

Market conditions
There is evidence that revenues in March were impacted by a number of factors, including slowing of the US economy, foot and mouth disease and the computer problems in the second and third week of March. We estimate that the overall revenue effect in the month was in the range of £15-20 million. The computer outage is also expected to have some impact on the results for April and May since selling and revenue management systems were affected over a 10 day period.

Club World continued to grow during March against a strong performance last year, and indeed the outlook for travel in this cabin continues to be positive.

As a result of the change in the sterling yen exchange rate, there will be a non-cash accounting credit of £34 million in the fourth quarter, and a total of £73 million in the full financial results.


Strategic developments
British Airways made a recommended cash offer for British Regional Air Lines Group plc (BRAL), at 120p per share, valuing BRAL at £78 million. The purchase is a further step in British Airways’ plans to coordinate better its various shorthaul businesses and reduce fragmentation among subsidiary and franchise partners. The Secretary of State is expected to announce by the end of April whether he will refer the transaction to the Competition Commission.

British Airways began trialling the Xybernaut “queue buster”, a portable computer check-in device. Check-in agents based in Terminal 4 donned cyber-style equipment enabling them to rove the terminals to carry out on-the-spot check-ins.

The Gatwick summer schedule started with new direct services to San Diego, and increased frequencies to Houston and Buenos Aires. The 777 will operate all of these services. In shorthaul, services to Brussels, Luxembourg and Dusseldorf will be upgraded from turbo props to regional jets, and Toulouse and Bordeaux services will revert from Air Liberte.