Air France-KLM's March traffic and unit revenue hit by crises; forward bookings better

Air France-KLM's March traffic was marked by the earthquake/tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis in Japan, as well as political unrest in the Middle East and Africa. Passenger traffic (RPKs) rose 1%, while capacity rose 3.5%, leading to a 1.9 ppts fall in passenger load factor to 78.6%.

Unit revenues "held up well" on the Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), Latin America and Caribbean and Indian Ocean networks, "but were insufficient to offset the decline in troubled regions", according to the airline, without disclosing figures. Systemwide unit revenue per available seat kilometer (RASK), excluding currency, was "down relative to March 2010, which benefited from an uptick in both traffic and revenues as well as the positioning of Easter at the very beginning of April".

But, encouragingly, Air France-KLM, said that forward bookings for the Summer season remain of "high quality, both in terms of volume and revenues".

The remainder of this report reviews the airline's passenger traffic performance by region. NB: All the graphs presented here are available on demand for CAPA Members on the Air France and KLM profile pages. CAPA now offers live monthly traffic data for over 130 airlines worldwide, including an 'export to excel' function.

Group passenger numbers were up 1.2% to 5.96 million.

Air France-KLM all routes: 2009 to 2011

Passenger numbers Passenger load factor (%)
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Air France-KLM's biggest route region - Europe - saw a 2.3% lift in passenger numbers and a 1.5% improvement in load factor to 68.6% - the lowest across its network.

Air France-KLM to/from Europe: 2009 to 2011

Passenger numbers Passenger load factor (%)
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On the Americas network, passenger numbers rose by 2.2% (RPKs by 2.8%) against a 6.3% rise in capacity, leading to a 2.8 ppts drop in load factor, which nevertheless remained at the high level of 82.4% - and above 2009 GFC crisis levels.

Air France-KLM to/from North America: 2009 to 2011

Passenger numbers Passenger load factor (%)

Air France-KLM noted the Asia Pacific network was "inevitably impacted by the disaster in Japan" - passenger numbers dipped by 1% (RPKs by -0.2%) while capacity jumped 6.0%. Load factors slid 5.2 ppts to 83.3% - just above GFC levels in 2009.

Air France-KLM to/from Asia Pacific: 2009 to 2011

Passenger numbers Passenger load factor (%)

The Africa and Middle East network recorded a 7.2% slump in passenger numbers (-5.1% drop in RPKs) as capacity rose 1.0%, resulting in a 4.8 ppts decline in load factor to 74.5%.

Air France-KLM to/from Africa & Middle East: 2009 to 2011

Passenger numbers Passenger load factor (%)

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The Caribbean and Indian Ocean network remained "robust", according to Air France-KLM, as passenger numbers rose 0.3% (RPKs up 2.7%) while capacity eased 0.7%, resulting in a 2.8 ppts increase in load factor to 83.5%.

Air France-KLM to/from Caribbean & Indian Ocean: 2009 to 2011

Passenger numbers Passenger load factor (%)

April traffic should be sharply positive, given the weak base for comparison after last year's Ash cloud disruption. There is however expected to be a lingering effect from crises in Japan and North Africa.

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