Thai Airways defers A380 deliveries; Air New Zealand yield weak in Jun-2009: SHARE WRAP

Asian airline shares were mixed yesterday (23-Jun-09), despite stronger conditions on Asian equity markets. Among the gainers, Thai Airways and Air New Zealand led the way, up 4.7% and 3.2%, respectively. Thai Airways’ share price gain coincided with news that the carrier has reached an agreement with Airbus to defer the delivery of six A380 aircraft from late 2010 to Dec-2012, “to reflect the current market conditions”.

The Tourism Council of Thailand forecasts tourist arrivals should recover by the end of 2009 or early 2010. Arrivals have fallen 22% year-on-year so far this year - the largest fall in 49 years - due to the global financial downturn, the swine flu outbreak and Thailand's ongong political turmoil.

Air New Zealand’s share price gain came as the carrier reported its Jun-2009 traffic results, revealing a 5.5% year-on-year reduction in passenger numbers to 1.1 million, and a 2 ppt improvement in load factors. However, according to The Centre’s calculations, group yields fell 4.9% last month (following a 1.1% increase in May-2009), with short-haul yields in particular taking a hammering following Jetstar’s entry in the domestic market, falling 10.5% in the month.

Leading the decliners yesterday was Virgin Blue, down 1.7%, while Singapore Airlines and Qantas were also lower, down 1.3% and 1.0%, respectively, with Japan Airlines stable.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 23-Jul-09