British Airways passenger traffic suffers from strike action

The majority of European airline shares were down on Wednesday (07-Apr-2010), pushed lower by the wider market. European markets sunk on continued to concerns of Greece’s ability to refinance its sovereign debt and a new report showed euro-zone growth stalled in 1Q2010.

In key markets, UK’s FTSE (-0.3%), France’s CAC (-0.7%) and Germany’s DAX (-0.5%) were all down at the end of trading.

British Airways passenger traffic suffers from strike action

British Airways (-2.1%) shares took one of the day’s biggest falls, after the carrier reported a 14.6% year-on-year decline in passenger numbers for Mar-2010, to 2.2 million. However, load factor rose 2.0 ppts for the month, to 74.7%, as the 13.7% reduction in capacity (ASKs) outweighed the 11.4% fall in traffic (RPKs).

The carrier stated both traffic and capacity were affected by the seven-day cabin crew strike action during the month.  Planned winter capacity reductions account for half of the decline in capacity for the month, with half due to the strikes. The total impact of the strike action in the month is estimated to be GBP40-45 million.

It was also announced during trading that British Airways and the union resumed negotiations over the Easter weekend. Unite stated “some serious progress” has been made since the talks resumed.

Ryanair down despite improved passenger traffic; Air Berlin rises

Ryanair (-1.3%) was also down, despite reporting a 2 ppt year-on-year improvement in load factor for Mar-2010, to 77%. Passenger numbers also rose, up 13%, to 4.7 million.

Air Berlin (+1.2%) meanwhile rose after also reporting increased passenger numbers and load factor.

See related report: Air Berlin’s unit revenues improve in Mar-2010; double-digit passenger growth for Ryanair

SAS sees early signs of recovery

SAS (+7.3%) shares soared after CEO, Mats Jansson, stated early signs of an industry upturn are apparent, as the decline in yield has bottomed out. According to Mr Jansson, this could lead to a recovery in demand by the end of the year. Mr Jansson added he is slightly more optimistic than the group's official forecast that a recovery would not come until 2011.

Elsewhere, Dart Group (+7.0%) continued its gains from the day prior, while El Al (+5.8%) also made solid gains. Aegean Airlines (-5.6%) meanwhile declined, moving lower with Greece’s benchmark ASE index (-3.0%). Aeroflot (-1.6%) was also down.

Also featured in today’s Europe Airline Daily:

  • Virgin Atlantic to launch Manchester-Las Vegas service from Apr-2011;
  • Monarch sees strong demand for scheduled flights in March 2010;
  • Air France operates is first "green" trans-Atlantic flight;
  • Hainan Airlines and Air Berlin expand codeshare agreement to 13 routes;
  • Lufthansa and pilots union agree on mediation;
  • Belavia takes delivery of sixth B737-500;
  • Turkish Cyprus Airlines staff commence strike.

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 07-Apr-2010