Impressive PRASM improvement for Southwest, not so for JetBlue. Strong growth for easyJet


Southwest Airlines (shares down 3.8% yesterday) stated passenger revenue per ASM for Jan-2010 is estimated to have surged 14-15% in the month - it largest PRASM increase by far in the past 12 months. The increase built on growth of 6.0% in Jan-2009.

Southwest handled 6.5 million revenue passengers in the month, an 8.6% year-on-year increase, while capacity (ASMs) fell 6.7%. Traffic (RPMs) was up 7.1% in the month, resulting in a very pleasing 9.3 ppt load factor improvement to 72.1%.

JetBlue’s PRASM reductions narrowing

JetBlue, meanwhile, stated its preliminary passenger revenue per ASM for Jan-2010 decreased 2% year-on-year. The carrier handled 1.8 million passengers in the month (+5.9%), while the carrier increased capacity (ASMs) by 8.9%, resulting in a 0.1 ppt load factor improvement to 74.1%.

Southwest has been the star performer in improving its unit revenues in recent months. (Subscribe to America Airline Daily for detailed summaries of all major US airline traffic reports).

US airline unit revenue highlights: Jan-2010




Southwest (Estimated)

+14% to +15%


JetBlue (Estimated)



US Airways (Estimated)



Continental (Estimated)

-1.0% to -2.0%

-2.5% to -3.5%

Strong traffic results for easyJet in Jan-2010

Across the Atlantic, Europe’s second largest LCC, easyJet reported very strong traffic results for Jan-2010, with a 10.7% jump in passenger numbers to 3.1 million, and a 3.6 ppt load factor improvement to 79.3%.

In the 12 months to Jan-2010, the carrier handled 46.4 million passengers (+3.8%) with an average load factor of 86.2% (+1.3 ppts). easyJet shares’ slipped 0.9% yesterday (reflecting overall weakness in the European stock market

Comparatively, Ryanair handled 4.4 million passengers in Jan-2010 - some 1.3 million more than easyJet, but with a slightly lower growth rate of +9%. Ryanair also had a notably lower average load factor of just 70% in the month (+1 ppts). Europe’s largest LCC handled 19.2 million more passengers than easyJet in the 12 months to Jan-2010, with 65.6 million passengers handled at an average load factor of 82%.

RBS Transport UK has upgraded easyJet to ‘buy’, with its price target raised from GBP4.00 to GBP4.60. easyJet has seen a 13% increase in its share price in the last three months, compared to +21% at Ryanair and +15% for European airlines on average.

Virgin Blue and Thai AirAsia see profits, Tiger Airways' shares down 5% since listing

Also see today’s Asia Pacific Share Wrap (Virgin Blue and Thai AirAsia see profits, Tiger Airways' shares down 5% since listing) for more information on Virgin Blue and Thai AirAsia’s profitability outlook.

For daily LCC strategic news direct to your inbox, sign-up now to Peanuts! Daily  It's free until 31-Mar-2010. For in-depth analysis of the global LCC outlook, please see The Centre’s landmark Global LCC Outlook Report.

Selected LCCs daily share price movements (% change): 04-Feb-2010

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