Summary of the headline figures: In November 2002, overall load factor improved by 5.0 points to 66.5 per cent. Passenger capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres, was 1.3 per cent below November 2001 while traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres, rose by 5.5 per cent. This resulted in a passenger load factor improvement of 4.4 points versus last year, to 68.3 per cent. The rise in traffic comprised a 5.0 per cent increase in premium traffic and a 5.6 per cent increase in non-premium traffic. Cargo, measured in Cargo Tonne Kilometres, increased by 11.5 per cent.
Although the travel market remains subject to global economic and political uncertainty, the revenue outlook has stabilised.
British Airways announced its longhaul flying programme for the summer 2003 season, which will reflect the airline’s drive to maximise revenue on profitable routes, reduce its cost base and work its assets harder. Seven additional weekly flights between Heathrow and Chicago will be added next year plus five additional weekly flights between Heathrow and Newark, New York, three additional weekly flights between Heathrow and Toronto and three additional weekly flights between Gatwick and Houston. Services from Heathrow to Houston which currently operate via Washington will operate via Chicago. Flights to Melbourne via Singapore will also increase from five per week to a daily service. On South American routes, the airline’s daily service to Rio de Janeiro via Sao Paulo will reduce to four flights per week. A non-stop service to Buenos Aires, which operates three times per week, will fly, in future, via Sao Paulo. These changes are due to the economic downturn in Brazil and Argentina which has led to a drop in passenger demand on these routes.
British Airways and American Airlines filed an application with the US Department of Transportation seeking US regulatory approval to offer certain codeshare services permitted under the current provisions of the US-UK Air Services Agreement. The arrangement would enable British Airways to place its code on American`s flights beyond British Airways’ US gateway cities to points in the US, Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America. British Airways would also place its code on American’s flights between Glasgow, Manchester and Chicago. The application submitted by the two carriers excludes codesharing on each other’s transatlantic services between the US and London. American would be able to place its code on British Airways’ services beyond its UK gateways to key destinations in the United Kingdom and Ireland, continental Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. American also would be able to place its code on British Airways’ transatlantic service between New York (JFK) and Manchester.
British Airways Chief Executive Rod Eddington called on European nations to join together to break down America’s protectionist aviation policies. Speaking at the Institute of Economic Affairs annual conference in London, he said it was the only way Europe could rebalance a one-sided air treaty the USA had pursued and he appealed to the British government to throw its weight behind the cause.
British Airways’ low fares to Europe got even lower with the introduction of a special early booking fare. The airline is offering a new lower fare on 74 routes with flights from £49 return in the UK and £59 to Europe, when purchased at least 30 days in advance of travel. There are no Saturday night stay restrictions and the fare is fully combinable with all other fares.