Summary of the headline figures
Traffic and capacity continued the trend seen in recent months. Capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres, fell by 2.6 per cent in August. Traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres, fell by 1.0 per cent comprising a 7.3 per cent growth in premium traffic and a 2.1 per cent decline in non-premium traffic. Passenger load factor rose 1.2 points to 77.7 per cent. This is the strongest August mainline load factor for four years. Cargo continued to improve with a 10.4 per cent increase in Cargo Tonne Kilometres.
Trading through the summer has been very satisfactory, with load factors hitting levels not seen for several years.
Fuel prices have continued to rise and sterling has continued to weaken against the US dollar. Consequently, fuel and oil costs for the current financial year are currently expected to be around £270 million higher than in the previous financial year. Although this is some £50 million higher than the last forecast, it is expected this additional cost will be largely offset by favourable revenue developments.
British Airways and KLM extended the exclusivity period for their talks about a possible combination of their businesses.
The roll-out of new ‘21st Century air travel’ products continues. New Club World flying beds are now available on the Hong Kong route. The seats have been well-received by customers on the London Heathrow - New York JFK route, with significant rises in customer satisfaction ratings for cabin crew, catering, sleep, privacy, comfort and space.
World Traveller Plus, British Airways’ new cabin situated between World Traveller and Club World, opened for sale on August 7, for travel from October 29. Currently, tickets are available for services between London Heathrow and New York JFK, Hong Kong and San Francisco.
British Airways announced a number of changes for its Winter 2000 schedule. In shorthaul operations out of Heathrow, there are frequency increases for services to Paris Charles de Gaulle, Prague, Bologna, Rome and Munich. In addition, all Tel Aviv services will now operate from Heathrow and will benefit from an increase in frequency from 10 per week to 17 per week. Services to Jersey, Venice and Bilbao from London will transfer from Heathrow to Gatwick. At Gatwick, frequencies to Venice and Barcelona increase. Service reductions include Heathrow - Paris Orly (reduced from six per day to three per day), Gatwick - Verona (three to two per day) and Gatwick - Genoa (from two to one per day). Operations from London to Ljubljana and Salzburg will cease. Longhaul changes include London - Johannesburg becoming a double daily operation, with the addition of an extra weekly flight. A fourth weekly service to Nassau is added, and services to Kuala Lumpur reduce by one frequency to five services per week.
British Airways cancelled all Concorde operations in the light of new information received by regulatory authorities from investigations into the cause of the Air France Concorde accident. British Airways remains optimistic that services will resume at some point.
As a result of the suspension of Concorde operations, extra Club World capacity will be offered on the London Heathrow - New York JFK route from mid-September. On two daily services, an extra 32 new Club World seats will be available.