Qantas Airways Ltd suffered a marked downturn in international passenger numbers in August, as the global aviation industry struggled to recover from the impacts of war and the SARS virus.
Monthly passenger figures published by Qantas showed its international passengers fell 12.1 per cent compared to August 2002, roughly in line with the airline`s own reduced seating capacity of 11.2 per cent.
The downturn occurred in a month when Australia`s biggest airport, Sydney Airport, reported an 8.2 per cent increase in passenger numbers over the prior corresponding period (PCP).
This included a 9.1 per cent increase in domestic passengers, while the number of international passengers was up 6.0 per cent.
For August, Qantas said it carried 644,000 international passengers, compared to 733,000 in the same month a year ago - a reduction of 12.1 per cent.
International “Revenue Passenger Kilometres”, its favoured measure of passenger numbers, fell 12.7 per cent.
The airline`s seating capacity, measured in “Available Seat Kilometres”, decreased 11.2 per cent.
Qantas said it also experienced a fall in domestic passengers in August, although the drop-off was not as severe.
The airline reported 1.45 million domestic passengers for the month, down 0.3 per cent from a year earlier.
Monthly domestic RPKs were down 0.9 per cent while ASKs decreased 4.9 per cent.
Overall, Qantas said it experienced a 2.9 per cent reduction in passenger numbers for August, to 2.43 million.
RPKs fell 5.0 per cent and ASKs were 4.7 per cent lower.