March traffic increased by 1%, while capacity increased by 2%. Consequently, overall load factor decreased by 1.3 percentage points from 79.4% in March 2000 to 78.1% this year. March was the first month this fiscal year showing a year-on-year decrease in load factor, mainly due to a historically high load factor in March 2000.
March 25, the new summer schedule was introduced with the new destinations Miami and Tripoli and increased frequencies and/or capacity on many routes, utilizing capacity released by curtailing or withdrawing service on less profitable routes. Despite the suspension of its direct services to Sydney, KLM has substantially expanded the number of connections to several Australian destinations, offering passengers 55 weekly flights to these cities in code share with Malaysia Airlines.
Passenger traffic decreased by 2%, whereas capacity decreased by 1%. Passenger load factor decreased by 0.9 of a percentage point to 79.0% compared to March 2000. The load factor on the North Atlantic declined under influence of deteriorating economic conditions in the U.S., but improved in route areas Europe, Asia Pacific, and Africa. The growth in Business Class traffic continued to exceed that of Economy Class traffic.
Cargo traffic increased by 5%, whereas capacity increased by 6%. Traffic growth was especially strong in route areas North Atlantic, Middle East & South Asia, and Africa. Overall cargo load factor decreased by 0.2 of a percentage point to 73.5%, especially due to lower export traffic from Asia Pacific.
April through March
Overall traffic increased 3%, whereas capacity remained the same. This resulted in a 78.4% load factor, the highest in the past five years. Load factor improved strongly in route areas Europe, North Atlantic, and Africa. Compared to last year passenger load factor increased by 2.5 percentage points and cargo load factor by 1.5 percentage points.