Last year’s July traffic and capacity statistics were depressed by the industrial dispute. Compared with those figures, British Airways mainline scheduled passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), rose by 17.8 per cent. With available seat kilometres (ASKs) showing growth of 21.1 per cent, this resulted in a 2.1 point decline in the passenger load factor to 75.6 per cent.
In comparison to July 1996, the month’s RPKs showed growth of 16.5 per cent with ASKs growing by 20.1 per cent. This represented an average annual growth over the two years of 7.9 per cent and 9.6 per cent respectively.
Premium traffic, which was particularly affected by last year’s industrial dispute, showed growth of 14 per cent compared against growth in the main cabin of 18.4 per cent.
After allowing for the effects of last year’s industrial dispute, July traffic growth would have been broadly in line with June this year.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
The European Commission (EC) published its draft remedies on the proposed alliance between British Airways and American Airlines. The draft opinion said that the Commission intends to approve the alliance provided that certain conditions are fulfilled. The Commission’s draft remedies are now subject to a 30-day consultation period from the July 30 date of publication.
Open skies discussions between the UK and US authorities are expected to resume in early October.
British Airways announced an extensive code-share agreement with LOT Polish Airlines covering eight weekly flights between the UK and Poland with effect from August 10, 1998. The jointly-coded services will be between Manchester and Warsaw, with both carriers offering three weekly return services each, as well as on LOT«s two return flights per week connecting Gatwick with Gdansk.
The agreement will be supported by a link-up of mileage award programmes, initially enabling frequent flyers to earn and redeem miles on the code-share flights.
British Airways announced that it will start operating daily flights between London and Denver on September 1. The new service was originally scheduled to begin at the start of this summer but was postponed because of delays in receiving the necessary US government approvals.
British Airways resumed services to Nigeria after a break of more than 14 months. The move followed the lifting by the Nigerian Government of the ban on all UK-registered aircraft from operating to Nigeria, which was introduced on May 16 last year.
British Airways announced a further realignment of capacity in the Asia-Pacific region. With effect from October 25, flights between Jakarta and London will decrease from the current six per week to two a week. A new direct Asian route connecting the UK and Australia via Kuala Lumpur will be opened up, with alliance partner coming off the Kuala Lumpur to Sydney leg. British Airways is also planning to operate a 14th weekly direct flight between London and Tokyo.