ANALYSIS: Load factors give cause for encouragement in February

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Passenger traffic in February saw improved load factors across the regions indicating capacity discipline is largely holding within the industry.
While like-for-like comparison with February 2011 is distorted by the additional day this month from the leap year resulting in higher RPK and ASK figures, load factors in Asia, Europe and North America were higher in February.
Most of the North American carriers posted an improved passenger load factors. Even United-Continental, which saw load factors slip 1.5 points, saw passenger revenue per available seat grow in February. It also says demand is improving in line with its expectations and that March advance seat factor is “up modestly” year-on-year.

North America February 2012 traffic 
 Southwest Feb 2011 excludes Airtran

A better than anticipated match between extra capacity and passenger demand was one of the things highlighted in IATA’s recent industry forecast. IATA now expects airlines to increase overall (passenger and cargo) capacity 3.2% this year, leaving it just fractionally below anticipated demand of 3.6%. This compares to its forecast of three months ago when it saw capacity outstripping demand in 2012.


IATA expects passenger to grow 4.2% for the full year, 0.2 points ahead of its projection, and with higher fuel costs driving tighter capacity, it now sees an improvement on the flat yields it has previously been projecting.
“Now we are seeing the possibility for 2.0% growth in both cargo and passenger yields,” says IATA director general Tony Tyler. “That will help to push up industry revenues to $633 billion.”

 Europe Feb12 traffic

Access the Monthly Airline Traffic landing page here.