British Airways mainline scheduled passenger traffic in the month, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), showed growth of 5.7 per cent from last year. With mainline scheduled capacity measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs) up by 10 per cent, the passenger load factor for mainline scheduled services declined by 2.8 points to 68.8 points.
Premium traffic for the month declined by 4.8 per cent with the main cabin showing good growth of 7.7 per cent. However, these growth rates were impacted by Easter falling in mid-April this year compared to early-April last year.
Taking March and April together to smooth out the effect of the Easter timing, premium traffic showed modest growth of 0.4 per cent with non-premium traffic growing by 6.3 per cent and traffic overall up by 5.4 per cent. With ASKs for the two months combined up by 9.2 per cent, the mainline scheduled passenger load factor fell by 2.6 points to 71.2 per cent.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
British Airways announced plans for the retirement of all eight of its McDonnell Douglas DC10 aircraft next year. They will be replaced on the Gatwick longhaul routes that they currently fly by two new Boeing 777s, orders for which were also announced, and by six Boeing 767s, already in service or on order but originally intended to operate from Heathrow. Orders were also announced for six new Boeing 757s, to take the place of these six 767s, flying shorthaul routes from Heathrow.
In a further refinement to its fleet plans, the airline has replaced orders for four Boeing 747-400s with orders for a further three additional Boeing 777s. All the newly ordered aircraft will be delivered during 1999. The impact of the fleet refinements will be to trim capacity growth in 1999/2000 and 2000/01.
British Airways and Qantas announced an expansion of their co-operation on the “kangaroo route”, with the launch of code-sharing services via Bangkok, offering passengers the widest choice of flights, schedules and destinations between Europe and Australia. This now means that their passengers have a choice of 28 services each week on the route through Bangkok.
With the two airlines already marketing and selling each other’s services between London and Australia over Singapore, it brings to 132 the total number of services they offer each week between London and Australia.
Manchester Airport’s new £75 million terminal - named Terminal 1 British Airways - was officially opened. The new custom-built, state-of-the-art terminal - capable of handling up to six million passengers a year - and funded largely by Manchester Airport Plc enables all British Airways domestic and international flights - and those of its partners - to be brought together under one roof, offering a single terminal operation and a minimum connection time of just 30 minutes for transfer passengers.