Qantas group traffic up 4% in February

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Australia's Qantas Airways and its subsidiaries reported a 4% growth in passenger traffic in February, buoyed by strong growth at its low-cost carrier Jetstar.

The total passengers carried by the group rose 14% to 3.2 million, says the airline.

Overall capacity, as measured in ASKs, grew 3%. As a result, the passenger load factor grew one percentage point to 79.4%, says Qantas.

RPKs at Qantas' domestic operations grew 6%, while the total number of passengers carried rose 5% to 1.3 million. Capacity fell 1%, and the passenger load factor increased five percentage points to 79.1%.

QantasLink's RPKs were up 0.3%, with passenger numbers growing 5% to 323,000. ASKs rose 2%, and the passenger load factor declined 0.9 percentage points to 63.3%.

Qantas' international operations posted a 9% fall in traffic, and passenger numbers fell 17% to 462,000. Its capacity was cut 7% and the passenger load factor decreased 1.7 percentage points to 80.1%.

Low-cost subsidiary Jetstar reported a 16% jump in domestic RPKs. Passenger numbers were up 14% to 632,000. Capacity rose 10%, and the passenger load factor grew 3.8 percentage points to 82.7%.

Jetstar's international operations posted a 31% growth in RPKs, while passenger numbers jumped 91% to 310,000. ASKs grew 22%, and the passenger load factor grew 5.3 percentage points to 79.7%.

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

In addition, it has hedged 34% of its expected fuel requirement in 2010/2011 at a worst-case price of $90 per barrel.