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SAS, Air Berlin defy European airline load factor improvements in April

European airlines reported a better demand environment in April, with Ryanair, easyJet, British Airways, Norwegian and Aer Lingus all in positive territory in terms of intra-European passenger volumes, although the later Easter this year was behind most of the gains.

Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, SAS, Air Berlin, Finnair and SkyEurope all lost ground.

European carriers' intra-Europe passenger numbers and passenger number growth: Apr-09

SAS and Air Berlin also reported lower load factors last month, although Air Berlin is at least showing some positive yield figures, unlike SAS.

European carriers' intra-Europe passenger load factor and passenger load factor growth: Apr-2009

Ryanair continues to press home its dominance of European aviation and is forecasting an improvement in profits this year.

European carriers' intra-Europe passenger numbers and passenger number growth: Apr-2009

Overall, the April figures could be an aberration in a downwards trend, with further capacity cutbacks considered highly likely in the months ahead.