ANALYSIS: April airline passenger traffic

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April showed a robust passenger traffic performance across the regions, which in far outpacing additional capacity led to strong improvements in load factor.
Traffic figures for a selection of Asia Pacific carriers in June showed passenger traffic as measured by RPKs up 8.5% (see table below). As capacity for the same carriers was lifted only 4%, it helped passenge load factor more than three points in April.
The figures include a strong rebound in Japanese traffic, which was badly impacted in April last year by the devestating earthquake and tsunami in Tokyo. All Nippon Airways for example grew traffic almost a third over the same month last year.

 
Load factors were similarly higher among North American carriers, where tight capacity discipline remains in force. Overall capacity for selected North American carriers was flat in April, while big operators like Delta, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines all reduced capacity by at least 1% (see table below). As traffic among these carriers grew slightly, load factors increased nearly a point

 
Despite the economic troubles that continue to grip the region, European airlines enjoyed a strong a traffic month. Passenger traffic grew 6.5%, at almost double the rate at which capacity was added. This helped lift load factor for selected European carriers (see table below) by 2.4 points to almost 80%.
The differing conditions between Spanish and the UK markets - and London in particular - which has been evident in British Airways and Iberia parent International Airlines Group's first quarter, was again clear in April traffic. While traffic grew strongly at BA by 7.8 on 4% extra capacity, Iberia cut capacity 9% in April and saw traffic fall 8% for the month compared to April 2011.