British Airways mainline scheduled revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) grew by 10.3 per cent. Premium traffic declined by 2.9 per cent after a 2.4 per cent decline last month, whilst non-premium traffic grew by 13.1 per cent. Growth in intercontinental traffic of 10.7 per cent again outstripped the 8.3 per cent growth in UK/Europe services. Trading conditions are very competitive in both the premium and the non-premium markets and yields are weakening. The outlook continues to be uncertain.
With mainline available seat kilometres (ASKs) growth of 11.5 per cent, the passenger load factor declined by 0.7 points to 65.4 per cent.
Cargo traffic declined by 1.5 per cent. Cargo industry yields remain soft, reflecting low world trading volumes. Suspension of services to Nagoya and Osaka has reduced our cargo capacity from Japan.
Overall load factor for mainline scheduled services thus declined by 3.5 points to 64.1 per cent.
Highlights of the month
British Airways announced pre-tax profits of £385 million for the six months to September 30, 1998 - up from £273 million for the same period last year, excluding one-off benefits from disposals. Earnings per share were up 7.1 per cent at 33.2 pence. The interim dividend payable to shareholders was raised by 8.5 per cent to 5.1 pence a share.
A $115 million 34 year tax exempt bond issue by the New York City Industrial Development Authority to assist in financing certain improvements to the British Airways terminal at JFK International is about to be launched. The issue has been rated `A2` by Moody`s and `A` by Standard & Poors, thus reaffirming the airline`s current long-term bond rating.
The first jumbo jet to join a British airline retired from British Airways service. The airline`s fleet of 15 747-100s have been sold to Illinois-based AAR Corp and European Aviation Limited. The aircraft are being progressively retired until January 2000.
British Airways announced that it will not resume regional transatlantic services to New York from Glasgow and Birmingham for Summer 1999. Neither of the services operate in the winter season due to poor demand and unacceptable losses.
British Airways launched a comprehensive range of new services and benefits for passengers flying longhaul in the “World Traveller” cabin. New features include new scientifically designed seats with adjustable headrests and footrests and more knee room; personal video screens for every passenger; new menus and catering equipment.
British Airways announced that it has reached a conditional agreement to acquire Gatwick-based CityFlyer Express - the first carrier to become a British Airways franchise partner - for £75 million. The purchase, which is subject to formal approval by the UK`s Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, will allow the two airlines to integrate more fully their networks and schedules.
British Airways and Qantas announced six new code-share routes with flights between London Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester in the UK, and Australia connecting over Paris or Frankfurt.
British Airways passengers can now also travel round-the-world on a BA flight number, connecting from Brisbane and Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand. They can also connect between Sydney and Christchurch or Wellington, New Zealand.
British Airways and Finnair announced a further expansion of their co-operation. The carriers now code-share on two daily British Airways flights from London-Heathrow to Glasgow and Edinburgh. The airlines have also joined their codes on four daily services between Birmingham and Helsinki, operated via European hubs, offering the most convenient connecting times. British Airways has also added its code to Finnair flights from Helsinki and Stockholm to Turku in Finland.
British Airways and Malev announced a further extension to their co-operation with the airlines code-sharing on their services between Budapest and Birmingham and Manchester. The code-share flights operate via Frankfurt, which Malev serves from Budapest twice daily. In Frankfurt, passengers can easily connect to British Airways` three daily flights each to Manchester and Birmingham.