Qantas' outlook downgraded by Moody's to negative, Virgin Blue's February load factors slump

Moody's Investor Service has downgraded the outlook on Qantas' Baa2 investment-grade credit rating to 'negative', citing concerns about high jet fuel prices and the impact of natural disasters. The carrier's stock eased 0.5% yesterday.

Virgin Blue meanwhile released its Feb-2011 traffic figures showing a 6.7% reduction in domestic passenger demand. Its domestic passenger load factor slumped 7.3 ppts to 76.8%. Full traffic highlights are as follows:

  • Passenger numbers: 1.3 million, -9.2% year-on-year;
    • Domestic: 1.2 million, -6.7%;
    • International: 170,639, -23.7%;
  • Load factor: 75.7%, -4.7 ppts;
    • Domestic: 76.8%, -7.3 ppts;
    • International: 74%, -0.5 ppt;
  • Average aircraft in fleet: 88.5, +4%;
  • On-time performance: 71.9%, -14.5 ppts.

Virgin Blue stated, “International passenger numbers for the month of February decreased by 23.7% over the previous year, principally due to the withdrawal of Pacific Blue from the domestic New Zealand market". The airline's shares were flat yesterday.

NB: CAPA members can now generate graphs and download three years of monthly Virgin Blue traffic data at the airline's profile page.

Selected Asia Pacific airlines daily share price movements (% change): 1-Apr-2011