Australia's Virgin Blue posts 3% rise in May traffic

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Virgin Blue posted a 3% increase in domestic passenger traffic in May and a cut in capacity pushed its passenger load factor even higher.

The Australian carrier says in a statement that RPKs in May increased 3% year-on-year and ASKs fell 4% so the passenger load factor rose five percentage point to 78% from 73%.

In real terms the number of domestic passengers rose 0.4% to 1.263 million from 1.258 million.

Virgin Blue earlier this year launched a long-haul international arm, V Australia, to complement its short-haul international business Pacific Blue.

In its statement Virgin Blue says international passenger traffic, as measured by RPKs, rose 204% in May and in real terms it increased 52% to 190,000 passengers from 125,000.

But capacity, as measured by ASKs, fell 246% so the passenger load factor dropped about 8 percentage points to 61% from 70%, it adds.