Summary of the headline figures
Premium traffic rose by 8.5 per cent in March, representing the 9th consecutive month of growth over last year. Premium traffic for the year ending 31 March 2000 rose by 4 per cent.
Capacity measured in Available Seat Kilometres fell by 1.2 per cent in March with Revenue Passenger Kilometres falling by 4.0 per cent. This caused the seat factor to fall by 2.1 points. In terms of traffic mix by cabin, premium traffic rose by 8.5 per cent in the month, with non-premium traffic falling by 6.1 per cent. Due to the timing of the Easter holiday, business traffic has been relatively stronger than in March 1999, with leisure travel correspondingly weaker. Cargo traffic was again strong, with Cargo Tonne Kilometres up 9.4 per cent. This helped to raise the overall load factor by 0.7 points, to 69.1 per cent.
For the full financial year, ASKs rose by 0.6 per cent, with RPKs falling by 0.7 per cent. Premium traffic rose by 4.0 per cent, with non premium traffic falling by 1.6 per cent.
Trading conditions are unchanged, with the positive trend in premium traffic seen in recent months expected to continue. April will also show some distortion as a result of the Easter holiday, with more leisure travel in the week before and after the holiday week-end. The beneficial effect on yield of a higher mix of premium passengers seen in the December quarter has continued through the final quarter of the financial year.
At the end of March, the value of the yen stood at Yen 163.60 to the pound, compared to Yen 165.20 at the end of December 1999. The Group will therefore have a non-cash accounting charge of £9 million in the fourth quarter financial results.
British Airways paid the second and final instalment of its investment in Iberia Lineas Aereas de España. This completes the acquisition of 9 per cent of the shares in Iberia, at a total of Ptas41 billion (£155 million). If the price of the shares in Iberia offered through its public flotation is less, the sum paid by British Airways will be reduced accordingly.
British Airways and Cathay Pacific signed a code-share agreement, such that Cathay Pacific’s CX code is being carried on British Airways’ flights linking London Heathrow with Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester. Code-sharing began on March 26 and provides smoother connections to and from Cathay Pacific’s twice-daily Hong Kong services.
Also from March 26, code-sharing between British Airways and Aer Lingus began. The BA prefix has been added to Aer Lingus flights between Dublin and Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle, and between Cork and Birmingham. Aer Lingus’ EI code is added to CityFlyer Express’ services between Gatwick and Dublin, and British Airways mainline flights between Heathrow and Berlin, Bologna, Copenhagen, Munich, Nice, Venice and Vienna.
The oneworld alliance governing board confirmed that Canadian Airlines International will cease to participate in the alliance or offer customer benefits from 1 June, 2000. The oneworld airlines will continue to provide services to seven Canadian cities with 64 daily flights.
British Airways announced that it is to roll out a free on-line information service for leisure and business travel agencies. This will give the UK travel trade extranet capability, allowing the agent to view product and service information, special promotions, training information and an on-line service to enable agents to talk to the trade query centre. Following the success of the trial period, the roll-out will be implemented from May.
Destinations in Japan, South Africa and Europe were added to the list of destinations on which e-ticket travel is available. E-tickets are now valid on services to Tokyo, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Budapest, Prague, Istanbul and Warsaw. This follows the success of ticketless travel to 14 European countries and 22 US destinations. More than one-third of travellers to these destinations take advantage of the e-ticketing, with nearly 40 per cent of passengers on domestic flights using this service.