Chinese and Indian domestic traffic growth continues; Jazeera’s profits down 53% in 3Q2009

Jazeera Airways’ shares slipped 4.5% yesterday, underperforming Kuwait's main index, KWSE, which closed up 0.7%, ahead of the carrier reporting a 53% reduction in net profit to USD2.7 million in the three months to Sep-2009.

This reduction occurred despite a 4% increase in revenues to USD56 million and a 65% increase in passenger numbers to 582,000. CEO, Stefan Pichler, commented that the carrier’s performance is “picking up again” following its restructure from a dual hub to a single hub operation.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 12-Nov-09

Chinese Government relaxes fuel-surcharge regulations

Shares in Chinese airlines generally gained yesterday, after the Government relaxed fuel-surcharge regulations, with plans to enable Chinese carriers to set their fuel surcharges based on their individual jet fuel costs from 14-Nov-2009.

Following the announcement, China Eastern’s shares jumped 9.2%, China Southern’s shares advanced 6.1% and Air China gained 2.9%. Hainan Airlines’ shares were also higher, up 2.0%.

China traffic remains in positive territory across the board in Oct-2009

China’s airlines handled 21.7 million passengers in Oct-2009, an 18.0% year-on-year increase.

While domestic passenger growth has remained strong in the past 12 months, international passenger growth has now also been in positive territory for four consecutive months. 

CAAC passenger number growth: Oct-08 to Oct-09

Cargo volume was also up by double-digits (+20.3%), with growth across the board (international: +22%, HK/Macau: +23%, domestic: +20%).

CAAC passenger number growth and cargo volume growth: Oct-08 to Oct-09

China Southern sees double-digit growth across the board in Oct-2009

China Southern, meanwhile, reported an 11.6% increase in Oct-2009 passenger numbers to 6.1 million, with load factors up by 1.7 ppts to 78.3%, Cargo growth exceeded passenger growth in the month, up 12.5%. 

Indian domestic growth momentum continues in Oct-2009

The Indian market has rebounded in the second half of this year, as the domestic economy remained strong. Despite some improvement in airline yields, domestic Indian air traffic continued its very powerful recovery in Oct-2009, with India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) reporting 27% growth in domestic passengers to 4.0 million in Oct-2009.

Jet Airways and other airlines in the Indian market have started to raise fares over the last few weeks to improve the yield position, with Jet stating these increases “have not shown any negative impact on traffic”. Executive Director, Saroj Datta, stated, “the current capacity-demand situation is improving, capacity growth has been under check, while demand continues to grow at a healthy pace. This coupled with a stable business scenario and steady GDP growth is an ideal environment for yields to go up from current levels."

Indian carriers domestic passenger numbers and passenger number growth: Oct-2008 to Oct-2009

The market, which contracted for 12 consecutive months to Jun-2009, is showing signs of recovery off the lower base levels in the 2008 period. Traffic growth bottomed out in Dec-2008, when passenger numbers slumped 22%.

Paramount was the only Indian carrier to report a decline in traffic for the month, with all other domestic carriers, both full service and low cost, increasing passenger traffic in excess of 23% in the month, led by GoAir (+187%), Kingfisher (+85%), SpiceJet (+65%), IndiGo (+34%), Air India (+31%), Jet Airways (+27%) and JetLite (+24%).

Among the LCCs, IndiGo had the highest domestic market share, at 13.6%, followed by SpiceJet (12.4%) and GoAir (5.4%), while a combined Jet Airways/Jet Lite, whose passenger levels fell last month due to its pilot strike, had a combined 27.7% market share, followed by Kingfisher Airlines followed at 20.7%. Air India also gained market share in the month, to 18.6%

Indian carriers domestic market share: Oct-2009

Air India had the lowest domestic load factor in the month, at 72.8%, 13.4 ppts behind the highest, Paramount, which had an 86.2% load factor in the month. 

Indian carriers’ load factor: Oct-2009