Summary of the headline figures
British Airways mainline scheduled Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs) in November grew by 0.3 per cent. Traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs), grew by 2.1 per cent. Passenger load factor was 1.2 points higher at 66.6 per cent. Premium traffic rose strongly again, by 6.5%, with non-premium traffic up1.3%.
Although trading conditions are still highly competitive, these are encouraging figures. Yields remain under pressure. Patterns of travel for the Millennium period are still unpredictable. With significant reductions in schedules, capacity for December and January will be below last year’s levels.
British Airways and Aer Lingus signed a co-operative agreement to codeshare on 14 routes across the Irish Sea and to eight continental European destinations. Both airlines’ frequent flyers will be able to earn and redeem miles on each other’s networks. Subsequent to this, on 2 December 1999, Aer Lingus was confirmed as the ninth member of the oneworld alliance.
British Airways and American Airlines filed an application with the US Department of Transportation to codeshare on flights serving some 75 destinations in the UK, USA, Europe and Africa, as part of their plans to develop a global marketing alliance.
As part of the annual planning process, British Airways is developing plans to reduce ongoing costs further and to implement strategic changes in seven key areas. These areas are Gatwick operations, subsidiaries, domestic routes, cost of sale, product, aircraft utilisation and people. Final plans will be in place by February 2000.
The purchase of CityFlyer Express was completed after British Airways received approval from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, subject to undertakings which were offered by British Airways during the Competition Commission’s investigation of the transaction. There is no requirement for British Airways to divest slots. CityFlyer Express’s traffic statistics will be included in this bulletin from December.
Fuel prices continued to rise, with jet kerosene currently trading above $240 a tonne, compared to approximately $210 per tonne at the end of our second quarter. The level of fuel hedging for the balance of the financial year is now around 90%.
The Yen continued to strengthen against sterling. At the end of November, the value of the yen stood close to Yen163 to the pound, compared to Yen 175.70 at the end of September 1999.
British Airways has completed its Year 2000 preparations and is confident of its readiness for the new millennium. Nevertheless, as a measure of prudence, it has in place comprehensive contingency plans and will have a monitoring centre activated over the millennium week-end.
British Airways launched a new £25 million transfer baggage sorting system at London Gatwick. This is the first major baggage system to be funded by the airline and is geared to handle around 100 bags per minute at peak times. British Airways moves 6 million bags per year at Gatwick.
The first operation into London City Airport by an aircraft in British Airways’ livery began on 1 November, when British Regional Airlines began their 3 per day weekday operation from Sheffield.
British Airways announced pre-tax profits for the second quarter of £40 million. This figure included £17 million disposal profits and a £44 million restructuring charge relating to planned redundancies of around 1000 staff. An interim dividend of 5.1p was declared.