The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 had a considerable impact on September operations.
Until 10 September, traffic (up 5.6%) grew in line with available capacity (up 6.0%), so much so that the passenger load factor reached a very high level, close to that of the previous year (81.7%, down 0.3 points).
The period from the terrorist attacks to the resumption of flights on the basis of a simplified schedule (11 to 19 September) saw a sharp contrast in traffic (down 15.9%) and a significant reduction in capacity (down 9.0%) due to the ban on overflying the United States for several days. The passenger load factor dropped to 73.9% (down 6.1 points). During this week, the fact that passengers returned to their home countries contributed positively to boosting the load factor.
On 18 September 2001, Air France took several measures to adapt to the crisis, namely the phasing out, between October 2001 and April 2002, of one freighter and 16 passenger aircraft, the suspension of all recruitment and the reduction of overhead and investment expenditure.
Flights to the United States have resumed on the basis of a simplified schedule of 16 daily flights instead of the 22 before 11 September. In spite of an overall limitation of capacity over the ten-day period from 20 to 30 September (up 1.7%), traffic plummeted 12.4% and the load factor fell to 70.2% (down 11.3 points).
Overall, traffic dropped 7.0% during September against stable capacity, which was nevertheless well below the budget which forecasted an increase of 8.6%. The load factor stood at 75.4% (down 5.6 points).
The attacks of 11 September 2001 have therefore taken a heavy toll and the aftershocks have continued to be felt well after the events themselves.
However, during September, the effects varied from one region to another:
* North America was obviously heavily impacted with a 26.1% drop in traffic for an 18.0% reduction in capacity (load factor: 76.5%, down 8.3 points).
* The Middle East network also suffered both from the international situation and the local context (14.3-point drop in the load factor to 65.5%), as was the case in Europe (9.2-point drop in the load factor to 65.7%). Concerning Europe, the decline in traffic was mainly due to the drop in feeder traffic to the hub.
* Even though they dropped considerably, the load factors in the South American and Asian sectors nevertheless remained at a high level (79.3% and 81.0% respectively).
* On the domestic network, the French regions/Orly routes, less dependent on connecting traffic, held out better (load factor down 4.1 points to 67.5%) than the French regions/Paris-Charles de Gaulle routes (13.1-point drop in load factor to 66.7%).
* Finally, two areas continued to post remarkable performances with increased traffic and excellent load factors: Africa with a 4.6% increase in traffic and a load factor of 81.8% and the Caribbean-Indian Ocean sector (up 12.1% in traffic and up 2.3 points in the load factor to 80.8%).