Australia's Qantas Airways and its subsidiaries posted a 3.2% increase in RPKs in October compared with a year ago, largely due to growth in its international low-cost operations.

Total passenger numbers rose 6.7% to 3.7 million from 3.4 million, says the Oneworld alliance carrier. Capacity, as measured in ASKs, fell 1.1%

As a result, the overall passenger load factor grew 3.4 percentage points to 83.3%.

RPKs for Qantas' domestic operations fell 1.6% and passenger numbers dropped 0.9% to 1.5 million. Capacity fell by 4.6%, resulting in the passenger load factor rising 2.7 percentage points to 85%.

Traffic at QantasLink was down 6.5%, with passenger numbers falling 1.9% to 378,000. ASKs were reduced by 4.2%, and the passenger load factor fell 1.8 percentage points to 72.1%.

Qantas' international operations saw a 5.4% fall in RPKs and a 21% drop in passenger numbers to 521,000. ASKs fell 11.5%, while the passenger load factor grew 5.4 percentage points to 84.6%.

The carrier's low-cost subsidiary fared better. Jetstar's domestic operations reported a 3.3% increase in RPKs and 3.6% growth in passenger numbers to 749,000. ASKs grew 1% and the passenger load factor increased 1.9 percentage points to 85.9%.

Jetstar International's RPKs grew 49.5% and passenger numbers increased 115.8% to 339,000. Capacity went up 45.5% and the passenger load factor grew by two percentage points to 76.6%.

Qantas adds it has hedged 85% of "its expected fuel requirement in 2009/10 at a worst-case crude oil price of $88 per barrel including option premium".

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news