Vueling gains marginally; Aer Lingus pilots vote to accept cost cutting plan

European shares were up for the second consecutive session on Thursday (14-Jan-2010), boosted by the mining and banking sectors, pushing up airline share prices. In major news, the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to put interest rates on hold, due to low inflation and uneven growth in the economy.

In major markets, the UK’s FTSE ended trading up 0.5% and Germany’s DAX was up 0.4%, while France’s CAC was flat. 

Vueling gains only marginally

Vueling (+0.5%) gained only marginally, as load factor for FY2009 dropped 0.2 ppts year-on-year, to 79.8%. The fall in load factor was the result of a 6.2% drop in traffic (RPKs), outweighing the 6.0% decrease in capacity (ASMs) for the year.

Dec-2009 traffic was more positive, with load factor increasing 3.0 ppts, to 79.0%, as traffic was down 2.7% and capacity was decreased 6.0%.

Aer Lingus pilots vote to accept cost cutting plan

Aer Lingus’ (+1.9%) pilots reportedly voted to accept the Labour Relations Commission's proposed EUR30 million cost cutting plan. The recommendations include a 10% pay cut and 50 redundancies of “top of scale” pilots, to assist the carrier to cut costs by EUR30 million p/a. However, the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA) has rejected some aspects of the plan, following legal advice. IALPA now plans to discuss the plan further with Aer Lingus. The airline is seeking to cut overall costs by EUR97 million p/a to assist in returning to profitability, with its pilots the only staff left to accept any cost cutting proposals from the carrier.

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Austrian Airlines (+5.3%) meanwhile continued to gain after reporting a moderate rise in passenger numbers on Tuesday (12-Jan-2010). El Al (+3.4%) and easyJet (+2.9%) also rose. airberlin (-0.8%) and British Airways (-0.3%) were the only carriers to end trading down.

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 14-Jan-2010