Summary of the headline figures: In January 2003, overall load factor improved by 0.9 points to 63.4 per cent. Passenger capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres, was 2.8 per cent below January 2002 and traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres, was lower by 1.8 per cent. This resulted in a passenger load factor improvement of 0.6 points versus last year, to 69.2 per cent. The fall in traffic comprised a 7.6 per cent reduction in premium traffic and a 0.8 per cent decrease in non-premium traffic. Cargo, measured in Cargo Tonne Kilometres, increased by 0.5 per cent.
The economic and political environment continues to be challenging.
British Airways announced its shorthaul summer 2003 schedule which includes new routes from London Gatwick and Manchester airports and increased services on profitable routes to Europe.
At Gatwick, a new service will start to Krakow in Poland three times a week and services to Athens will be reinstated with six flights a week. There will be extra daily flights to Italian destinations including Rome, Genoa, Venice and Verona and an extra weekly service to Naples. An additional weekly flight will operate to Pristina in Kosovo.
At Heathrow, there will be an additional daily service to Brussels and Copenhagen, three extra weekly flights to Helsinki and two extra weekly flights to Larnaca in Cyprus. Services to Belgrade will move from Gatwick to Heathrow where there will be four flights each week. At Manchester, there will be three new services with daily flights to Bologna, Pisa and Vienna and extra daily frequencies to Geneva, Glasgow, Hanover and Rome and an additional weekly service to Lyon. Services to Gothenburg will be suspended.
The airline began wearer trials of a new uniform for customer contact staff.
British Airways submitted its detailed response to the CAA as part of the consultation process on airport charges. It said an increase in airport charges of 6.5 per cent above inflation at Heathrow from April 2003 - 2008 means airlines are being asked to pay å£300m in advance for airport services which they and their passengers wonå‘t benefit from for many years. The submission also said the increase in charges was based on an unreasonably high cost of capital at 7.75 per cent compared with BAAå‘s historic cost of capital of below 7 per cent. Other UK utility regulators use a cost of capital of 6-6.5 per cent. Financial analystså’ cost of capital estimates are in the range of 6-7 per cent.