British Airways passenger load factor for mainline scheduled services grew by 0.3 points from last year to 72.6 per cent. Mainline scheduled passenger traffic measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) grew by 11.7 per cent on capacity measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs) up by 11.2 per cent.
Traffic growth was again driven by a strong 14.5 per cent growth in non-premium traffic. Premium traffic in the month declined by 2.4 per cent. Traffic growth of 12.6 per cent on intercontinental routes outstripped growth of 7.9 per cent on UK/Europe routes. The weaker premium travel market combined with the faster growth in longhaul versus shorthaul traffic will lead to overall yield reduction. This change currently looks likely to continue.
Traffic growth was again particularly strong in Africa and in the Americas region. The Asia - Pacific region also showed traffic growth and an improvement in the passenger load factor.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
Open skies discussions between the UK and US resumed. On the third and final day of the bilateral talks, the US negotiators suddenly called an end to the discussions. The US Department of Transportation subsequently also postponed Evidentiary hearings that were due to take place at the end of October. British Airways and American Airlines continue to press for approval of their proposed alliance on commercially acceptable terms, but have reiterated that the terms of the current EC proposal are too harsh. In the meantime, alliance strategy continues to be progressed within the current legal and regulatory framework with particular emphasis on development of the oneworld alliance.
British Airways’ French subsidiary, Air Liberté, revealed its new identity, and announced improvements in products and services to help the airline become the first choice in the French air travel market. Included in the improvements is the introduction of Club Liberté, a real business class product for the same price as the full economy fare of other airlines.
British Airways and Emirates signed a code-share agreement covering selected flights between Britain and the United Arab Emirates. Subject to Government approval, from December 1, British Airways’ flights between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi will also carry Emirates’ EK codes, and Emirates services between Manchester and Dubai will also bear the BA flight prefix.
British Airways and LOT further extended their co-operation with an additional code-share on their services between Krakow and London-Gatwick. British Airways and LOT now jointly offer six weekly flights on the route, three by each carrier. At the same time, LOT has moved its operations from London-Gatwick’s South Terminal to the airport’s North Terminal, where the two airlines are now co-located. The agreement is supported by a link-up of mileage award programmes, enabling frequent flyers to earn and redeem miles on the code-shared flights.
British Airways’ low-fare airline, ‘go’, announced new routes to Munich, commencing on November 25 and to Venice commencing on December 8. Additional frequencies to Edinburgh and Bologna were also announced.
British Airways was awarded the prestigious major project award at the British Construction Industry Awards for its new state-of-the-art £200 million Waterside business centre near Heathrow. The airline’s internal television channel BATV also won awards for its research and evaluation and for Best Corporate Video/Business Television in the PR Week Awards 1998.