ANALYSIS: March airline passenger traffic

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Passenger traffic in March yielded airlines a strong increase in load factors across the Asia, Europe and North America. Load factors were up four points in Asia, just under four points in Europe and two points in North America.

The improved load factors in Asia are driven by strong passenger traffic growth of 8%. But this in part reflects the impact of the March 2011 major earthquake and Tsunami in Tokyo, which heavily hit Japanese traffic last year.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) for example saw passenger traffic up a quarter in March compared the same month in 2011. The carrier's domestic traffic, which was down in a fifth in the aftermath of the disaster, was up a fifth in March.

asia pacific march traffic 

For North American carriers continued capacity discipline helped keep passenger traffic growth ahead of supply, driving load factors up in March for all but a handful of airlines. Delta for example enjoyed a 2% rise in passenger traffic despite cutting capacity more than 3%.

 north america march 12

Passenger traffic in March was also up around 4% among European carriers, through low-cost carrier giant Ryanair - which saw passenger numbers down 3.5% - was among those to see traffic fall as part of its decision to ground aircraft during the less profitable winter season.

europe march 2012 traffic