Air France-KLM reports 4.3% rise in traffic; British Airways passenger numbers decline

All European airline shares, except for Aegean Airlines (-0.8%) and SAS, rose on Thursday (03-Jun-2010), moving with wider markets. Energy and mining sectors pushed markets higher, as investors sought to purchase shares on the cheap.

In key markets, UK’s FTSE (+1.2%), France’s CAC (+1.6%) and Germany’s DAX (+1.2%) all traded higher.  

Air France-KLM reports 4.3% rise in traffic

Air France-KLM (+6.1%) made the day’s biggest gain after reporting a 3.3 ppt year-on-year rise in load factor for May-2010, to 80.6%. The improvement was the result of a 4.3% rise in traffic (RPKs) on a 0.1% increase in capacity for the month. Passenger numbers were also up, rising 1.6%, to 6.2 million.

See related report: Global airline traffic recovery gathers pace, Africa’s World Cup boost

The group stated RASK excluding currency increased markedly compared to May-2009 levels, with strong momentum in Economy and premium classes. For long-haul, the increase was particularly noticeable in the Asia and Americas networks. For medium-haul, the Paris-Europe routes benefited especially from the launch of the new “Premium Eco” product aimed at business travelers, which has been well received by customers.

As a result of the improved results, UBS AG raised its recommendation of the carrier’s shares from ‘Neutral’ to ‘Buy’.

British Airways passenger numbers decline due to strike action

British Airways (+1.8%) also rose. The carrier reported a 14.2% decline in passenger numbers for May-2010, to 2.4 million, as a result of 14 days of cabin crew strike action over the month. The carrier stated that despite this traffic “fell by only” 11.5%, as capacity was reduced by 4.7%, leading to a 5.4 ppt decline in load factor, to 69.7%. BA stated traffic comprised a 6.5% decrease in premium traffic and a 12.5% decrease in non-premium traffic.

The financial impact of the strike continues at some GBP7 million per day. It stated the total cost of the strike period can only be assessed at the end of the disruption and will reflect lost bookings and reduced travel volumes offset by some volume driven cost savings.

In Ireland, Ryanair (+2.8%) reported a 17% rise in passenger numbers, to 6.4 million. See related report: European airline shares slump 25% in May-2010; Double-digit passenger growth for Ryanair in May-2010

Aeroflot group net profit triples

Aeroflot (+1.8%) group net profit tripled for the 12 months ended 31-Dec-2009, to USD86 million. However, this was below the USD100 million net profit forecast by CEO, Vitaly Savelyev, in Apr-2010. Aeroflot Russia Airlines itself reported a 20% year-on-year decline in net profit for the year, to USD122 million.

Europe Airline Daily reports the very latest on what’s happening in the European aviation market, including news on routes, fleets, traffic and financials. Stories featured in today’s issue include:

  • easyJet to launch daily London Gatwick-Gothenberg service;
  • Ryanair passenger numbers up 17% in May-2010;
  • Lufthansa takes delivery of 43rd A320 aircraft;
  • Olympic commences operation of additional public service obligation route;
  • Aeroflot turns down offer to acquire UTair fixed-wing business;
  • Malev Airlines and Etihad Airways sign codeshare agreement.

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 03-Jun-2010