Narita sees 60% pax decline since Japan earthquake; UK budget shakes shares


The outlook after the Japanese earthquake was still not entirely clear this week even as Narita International Airport Corporation stated all operations at the airport had returned to normal, and Delta reported it was operating its “normal” 40 flights a day to Japan.

However, Japan’s Immigration Bureau said the number of foreigners arriving at Narita had dropped off 60% since the 11-Mar-2011 earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear emergency with Kansai receiving less than half its daily 4000 arrivals.

Association of Asia Pacific Airlines warned that despite a positive start to 2011, the outlook for the industry is “clouded” by a sharp increase in oil prices and the situation in Japan which has the potential to “undermine the global economic recovery”.

Read full report: Asia Pacific aviation outlook ‘clouded’ by oil prices; Japan crisis

The events in Japan have had a “major impact on regional travel and tourism flows”,  stated AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman. He noted that Japan represents 6.5% of worldwide scheduled air traffic.

Finnair, the carrier most exposed to the Japanese market, expects first quarter profits to weaken due to the quake coupled with conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.

CEO Mika Vehviläinen said: “It is currently impossible to assess, however, the future course of the crisis in Japan and the subsequent recovery. Over the longer term, the reconstruction of Japan may act as a stimulus for our sector.”

Read full report: Japan crisis has major impact on regional travel and tourism flows

SAS passenger numbers were down leading the cancellation of two flights during the week – Copenhagen- Tokyo 24 and 26-Mar-2011. For SAS, Japan travellers represent less than 1% of the airline's total passenger numbers, and as a result, the company does not expect falling demand to have a significant impact on its revenue.

In the UK, the new Government’s Budget was criticised variously as “anti-tourism” and “not green”, and sent a shudder through the share market. The Government set aside proposals to replace the Air Passenger Duty with a per plane tax and has decided to freeze the APD for 12 months.

Further pronouncements in the Coalition’s first Budget did not do UK airline stocks any favours, with shares in flybe, IAG, Thomas Cook and easyJet all down in the middle of the week.

Easyjet was plumping for the per plane tax while Ryanair hit plans to boost economic activity in the UK by reducing corporation tax without scrapping "unjustified and unfair tourist taxes". The LCC stated the budget "proves that yet another UK government has no tourism policy".

It came as news the UK and Ireland had plunged down the rankings of Europe’s biggest domestic markets, according to CAPA analysis of Innovata data.

Read full report: UK and Ireland plunge down the list of Europe's biggest domestic markets; Russia and Turkey advance.

The drop reflects capacity cutbacks and a weak economy, dropping the UK two places to now rank as Europe's sixth largest domestic air market, behind (in order) Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Russia.

With Russia and Turkey named the biggest movers, CAPA analysis shows that the countries – along with Sweden – are among the fastest growing destinations for European travellers this summer.

Read full report: Russia, Turkey and Sweden the hottest destinations for European travellers this summer; Egypt down.

Crunching Innovata data for Apr-2011 - the first month of summer scheduling – revealed Russia and Turkey will enjoy near 20% increases in passenger capacity from other European countries next month.

Strife in Egypt and Tunisia has had a dramatic affect on airline capacity decisions from European countries, traditionally strong source markets for the tourism-dependent Egyptian and Tunisian economies. Capacity to Egypt and Tunisia from Europe will fall 16.1% and 7.1%, respectively.

In emerging markets, the overall numbers may be small, but the growth in seating capacity is spectacular from Europe to a number of up-and-coming countries this summer. Headlining the list is Slovenia, TajikistanGeorgia and in Eastern Europe; El Salvador, Panama and Colombia in Latin America; Rwanda, The Gambia and Togo in Africa; and Cambodia and Vietnam in Asia.

Read full report: Slovenia, Colombia and Eastern Europe among the hottest emerging markets for European travellers.

In environment news,  China Air Transport Association stated the EU carbon tax would cost the carrier an additional CNY800 million (USD122 million) p/a, stated a Beijing News report. This would increase to CNY3 billion p/a by 2020 according to the association. Air China, China Southern and China Eastern are reportedly planning to jointly lodge a legal case with the China Air Transport Association with Hainan Airlines also considering taking part in the litigation.

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