British Airways reports improved traffic; Ryanair load factor declines; Air France up


European airline stocks were mostly up on Wednesday (03-Mar-2010), moving higher with the wider market after Greece released a new set of austerity measures to overcome its debt issues. However, gains were capped by a 1.5% rise in oil prices, to USD80.87.

In key markets, UK’s FTSE (+0.9%), France CAC (+0.8%) and Germany’s DAX (+0.6%) were all up slightly at the end of trading.

British Airways reports improved traffic

British Airways (-0.6%) slipped after reporting a 2.2 ppts year-on-year improvement in load factor for Feb-2010, to 74.2%, as traffic (RPKs) rose 1.1% and capacity (ASKs) fell 1.9%. Traffic comprised a 5.0% increase in premium traffic and a 0.3% increase in non-premium traffic. Feb-2009’s traffic data was affected by significant weather disruption in the first week of the month. 

CEO, Willie Walsh meanwhile also stated during trading that he would not cave in to pressure from cabin crew union, Unite, and outlined a contingency plan if staff do go ahead with a proposed strike. BA has trained approximately 1,000 staff to conduct cabin crew duties, should the industrial action occur.

The carrier also stated it expects to sign a merger agreement with Iberia by the end of the month. Iberia was flat at the end of trading.

Ryanair load factor drops, wins case against easyJet

Ryanair (-2.2%) meanwhile declined after reporting a 3.0 ppt year-on-year fall in load factor for Feb-2010, to 75%. Passenger numbers were up (just) 6% for the month, to 4.4 million.

Also during trading, the carrier won a case against easyJet (-0.6%) in which Ryanair claimed its rival “denigrated” it by suggesting in advertising material that the carrier did not transport passengers to the correct destination. easyJet shares slipped 0.6% yesterday.

SAS (-3.0%) and Eurofly (-2.5%) were meanwhile the day’s biggest fallers.

Air France-KLM to reduce capacity slightly over Summer 2010

Air France-KLM (+1.5%) gained after announcing plans to reduce capacity (ASKs) by 0.3% under its upcoming Summer 2010 schedule. Capacity will be increased slightly (+0.8%) on the long-haul network, while medium-haul capacity will be reduced by 4.0% and domestic capacity will be reduced 2.2%.

Dart Group (+7.7%) and Aer Lingus (+5.3%) also made steady gains.

Also featured in today’s Europe Airline Daily:

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

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