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Passenger numbers, load factors and yields continue to slip: ATA

Air Transport Association of America (ATA) member airlines transported 43.9 million passengers in May-2009, an 11.1% year-on-year reduction. Load factors also were down on 2008 levels, falling 1.4 ppts year-on-year, as the carriers’ 8.4% year-on-year capacity (ASMs) reduction failed to match the 10.0% reduction in traffic (RPMs). However, average load factors still remained above 80% in the month (at 80.1%).

ATA Airlines passenger number growth by region: Mar-2007 to May-2009

 

Air Transport Association of America (ATA) traffic highlights: May-2009

 

 

 

Passenger numbers (mill)

43.9

-11.1%

  Domestic (mill)

38.4

-11.0%

  International (mill)

5.5

-12.0%

  Trans-Atlantic (mill)

2.3

-4.2%

  Asia Pacific

882,000

-20.2%

  Latin America (mill)

2.3

-15.5%

Load Factor (%)

80.1%

-1.4 ppts

  Domestic (%)

81.9%

-0.2 ppts

  International (%)

76.6%

-4.0 ppts

  Trans-Atlantic (%)

81.2%

+0.3 ppts

  Asia Pacific (%)

72.4%

-9.0 ppts

  Latin America (%)

70.5%

-8.3 ppts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All markets, including domestic and international regions, experienced passenger reductions in the month, with traffic to/from Asia Pacific the worse affected, down 20.2% year-on-year. Asia Pacific load factors also fell significantly in the month, down 9.0 ppts to 72.4%, despite a 10.8% capacity (ASMs) reduction on these services.

ATA Airlines ASM growth by region: Jan-2008 to May-2009

 

ATA Airlines RPM growth by region: Feb-2006 to May-2009

 

Yield reductions a further concern

A further concern for the US airlines is the continuing trend of yield reductions across all markets. Although yield data for May-2009 has not yet been released, data from Apr-2009 revealed a 10.7% year-on-year reduction in domestic yields, with reductions of 21.9%, 8.0% and 17.3% on Atlantic, Latin and Pacific services. US carriers have been reporting yield reductions on domestic services since Nov-2008, with Atlantic and Pacific yields slipping into negative territory in Dec-2008. Yields on Latin services followed, with negative changes commencing in Feb-2009.

Southwest largest US carrier

ATA also reported that Southwest Airlines reported the largest total system (domestic and international) traffic in May-2009, with 8.7 million passengers (down 6.7% year-on-year), followed by American Airlines with 7.3 million passengers and Delta Air Lines with 5.7 million passengers. However, Southwest’s load factor remained weak, at 74.6%, with only Continental Micronesia reporting a lower load factor (of 61.3%).

Air Transport Association of America (ATA) traffic highlights: May-2009

Passengers (m)

 

 

Southwest (mill)

8.7

-6.7%

American (mill)

7.3

-13.1%

Delta (mill)

5.7

-4.6%

United (mill)

4.7

-16.2%

US Airways (mill)

4.4

-7.8%

Continental (mill)

3.7

-11.8%

Northwest (mill)

3.5

-21.8%

AirTran (mill)

2.0

-9.2%

JetBlue (mill)

1.8

+1.5%

Alaska (mill)

1.3

-11.9%

Hawaiian

679,000

-6.6%

Continental Micronesia

87,000

-13.9%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Load Factor (%)    

Southwest

74.6%

-0.3 ppts

American

79.2%

-2.6 ppts

Delta

83.2%

-0.2 ppts

United

80.2%

-2.3 ppts

US Airways

82.8%

+0.4 ppts

Continental

81.9%

+0.1 ppts

Northwest

82.6%

-3.9 ppts

AirTran

78.0%

-1.3 ppts

JetBlue

77.4%

-1.8 ppts

Alaska

76.8%

-1.0 ppts

Hawaiian

85.9%

-4.6 ppts

Continental Micronesia

61.3%

-4.2 ppts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATA forecasts 14 million fewer passengers over Summer

ATA is predicting the pain to continue, last month forecasting 7% fewer passengers over the US peak travel season between 01-Jun-09 to 31-Aug-09, compared to 2008 levels. This equates to approximately 195 million passengers over the three month period, or 150,000 fewer passengers per day.