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Qantas mainline growing domestic passengers, Virgin Blue filling more seats

Qantas’ domestic mainline has regained its leadership as the largest Australian domestic operation from Virgin Blue with a 5% jump in passengers last month to 1.264 million. Virgin Blue handled 1.260 million passengers last month, up 1.6% year-on-year.

But Virgin Blue filled 84.1% of its domestic seats, up 2.8 ppts – a point not lost in investors, which sent the airline's shares up 5.2% on Friday, against Qantas’ 0.7% gain. Qantas is however closing the load factor gap, with a creditable 5.0 ppts increase in domestic mainline load factor, to 79.1%.

The Qantas Group is also represented in the Australian domestic market by Jetstar (which enjoyed a 13.7% surge in passenger numbers and a 3.8 ppts increase in load factor to 84.1%) and QantasLink (pax +5%, load factor -0.9 ppts to 63.3%).

Qantas Group Australian domestic traffic: Feb-2010

Virgin Blue Group Australian domestic traffic

Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region, China Eastern added a further 4.8% on Friday, while Tiger Airways gained 4.1%.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 26-Mar-2010