Qantas group traffic down 0.2% in January

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Australia's Qantas Airways and its subsidiaries posted a 0.2% fall in group traffic in January, despite growth reported by its low-cost carrier Jetstar.

The total number of passengers carried by the group rose 6% to 3.4 million from a year ago, says the carrier.

Overall capacity, as measured in ASKs, grew 0.6%, it adds. As a result, the passenger load factor fell 0.6 percentage points to 81.2%.

RPKs at Qantas' domestic operations fell 5%, and its passenger numbers dipped 5% to 1.3 million. Capacity was cut 1% and its passenger load factor fell 2.6 percentage points to 78.4%.

QantasLink's traffic fell 3%, and its passenger numbers decreased 0.6% to 308,000. ASKs were up 1% and the passenger load factor fell 2.3 percentage points to 62.2%.

Qantas' international operations posted a 9% drop in traffic, with passenger numbers down 16% to 542,000. Its capacity was cut 10% and the passenger load factor grew 1.1 percentage points to 84.5%.

The group's low-cost carrier Jetstar fared better. Jetstar's domestic operations reported a 3% growth in RPKs, and passenger numbers grew 0.4% to 746,000. ASKs were up 7%, and the passenger load factor fell 3 percentage points to 81.8%.

Jetstar's international operations posted a 28% jump in RPKs, with passenger numbers up 78% to 358,000. Its capacity grew 27%, resulting in the passenger load factor growing 0.5 percentage point to 78.5%.

In an update on its fuel hedging activities, Qantas says it has hedged 87% of its expected fuel requirement in its 2009/2010 fiscal year at a worst-case crude oil price of $88 per barrel.

In addition, it has hedged 28% of its fuel requirement in its 2010/2011 fiscal year at the same price, it adds.