Singapore Airlines closes load factor gap in April, but more work to do


Singapore Airlines' passenger load factor (PLF) slipped 3ppts to 74.6%, closing the gap that opened in February and March compared with the same months last year. Total passenger traffic (RPKs) rose 7% while capacity (ASKs) surged 11.2% in Apr-2011

The airline's capacity levels are expected to moderate in May-2011, according to schedules filed with Innovata which show SIA retaining its position as the world's 14th biggest airline by ASKs this month.

All regions except the south-west Pacific recorded declines in PLFs over the same period last year. The Americas and Europe recorded declines as capacity increases outpaced the growth in passenger carriage. Europe in particular saw a substantial capacity increase year-on-year, partly attributed to the lower base in Apr-2010 as a result of flight cancellations due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Loads for East Asia also declined, in part due to weaker demand on Japan routes in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. The West Asia and Africa region was affected following the political unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa, according to SIA.

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Singapore Airlines Passenger Load Factor (2009 to 2011)

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The beginning of the northern summer on 27-Mar-2011 saw the launch of SIA's three times weekly service to Sao Paulo via Barcelona, making South America the sixth continent in its network. Capacity was also increased to several destinations including Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Male and Taipei.

See related report: Singapore market set for more competition and potential over-capacity

Cargo loads improve

System-wide cargo capacity increased by 10.3% while overall cargo traffic (measured in freight tonne kilometres) improved by 11.8%. This led to a 0.9ppt improvement in cargo load factor (CLF). CLF improved most in the south-west Pacific, by 4.9ppts, mainly due to increased loads on freighter flights and movements of seasonal perishables.

"Prudent capacity management" in the Americas and Europe saw capacity closely matching cargo traffic growth, according to SIA. CLF for East Asia and West Asia and Africa dropped as capacity outpaced demand by a small margin.

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