Summary of the headline figures - In August 2003, overall load factor increased 0.1 points to 69.6 per cent. Passenger capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres, was 3.6 per cent above August 2002 and traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres, was higher by 4.8 per cent. This resulted in a passenger load factor up 0.9 points versus last year, to 77.4 per cent. The increase in traffic comprised a 1.1 per cent increase in premium traffic and a 5.3 per cent increase in non-premium traffic. The statistics are distorted by the power outage in Canada and the East Coast of the United States. Cargo, measured in Cargo Tonne Kilometres, fell by 0.3 per cent.
Market conditions -
Overall market conditions are broadly unchanged with traffic volumes remaining very sensitive to yield. Premium volumes have stabilised, but are however still significantly below levels seen previously.
Strategic Developments -
British Airways announced further steps to reduce its distribution costs in order to improve profitability. From December 1, 2003, the airline will introduce a commission based payment scheme of 1 per cent for UK travel agents who make British Airways$B!&(Bbookings. This replaces sector payments, which were introduced in April 2001.
The airline announced its first set of codeshare flights with oneworld partner American Airlines that will ultimately add more than 100 new destinations to its network. The codeshare routes, on destinations beyond British Airways$B!&(B18 US gateway cities and American Airlines$B!&(BUK gateways, will be introduced in phases. The first cities are Raleigh Durham, Nashville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Minneapolis St Paul, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Panama City and San Antonio, bookable now for travel from September 17.
Speedwing International Limited, a subsidiary of British Airways Plc, disposed of its trading division Speedwing Mobile Communications to AirRadio Limited $B!&(Ba company forming part of the Spice Holdings Plc Group. The consideration for the sale of the business and assets is $B!W(B4.6 million.
British Airways was given permission to start flights to Basra in Iraq. The airline plans to fly twice a week, via Kuwait, using a Boeing 777 aircraft, once safety and security clearances have been finalised.