Domestic airline traffic tumbles across Europe

Image: More people on Austrian: Only Austrian and LOT achieved load factors of above 70% in April and May.
More people on Austrian: Among Europe’s ‘second-tier’ flag carriers, only Austrian and LOT achieved load factors of above 70% in April and May.

Logo: AEALatest figures from the AEA member airlines demonstrates clearly that domestic traffic is sufferingacross Europe as fares rise and economic growth falters in the face of high oil price and the ‘credit crunch’. Domestic flights are typically booked at shorter notice than international flights so this may be a sign of things to come in other markets.

Chart: AEA Airlines Traffic by Region
Source: AEA

Other regional markets fared better with the relatively small South Atlantic and North African markets showing healthy double-digit growth in May. Middle East traffic also grew by more than 10%. However, the larger markets such as cross-border EU traffic and North Atlantic traffic grew by 5.3% and 2.8% respectively. Overall growth has been consistently below 3% except in February (which had an extra day).

Chart: major AEA airlines passenger growth
Source: AEA

Alitalia’s downsizing at Malpensa has had a significant impact on its monthly traffic which in April and May was over 20% below the previous year. Turkish and Swiss continue to register impressive year-on-year growth while SAS’s spike in April can be explained by the lack of Easter encouraging its business dominated traffic to fly more often and the fact that the previous April the airline was suffering industrial problems.

Chart: Major AEA airlines load factor
Source: AEA

Alitalia is now consistently reporting significantly lower load factors than its competitors. KLM continues to just about hang on to its leading load factor ranking.

Chart: Other AEA airlines passenger growth
Source: AEA

Among the nine medium-sized carriers five reported lower passenger numbers in May than a year ago. Struggling LOT, Malev and Olympic were joined in May by Finnair and Brussels Airlines in reporting a decline in passenger demand. TAP was the fastest growing in this category with passenger growth of almost 30%.

Chart: Other AEA airlines load factors
Source: AEA

Only Austrian and LOT achieved load factors of above 70% in April and May. A year ago Finnair and TAP also achieved this feat.


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