AEA passenger numbers down 5.8% in 2009; back to growth in 2010; Turkish Airlines traffic up 37% in January

Turkish Airlines launched a daily service between Istanbul Atatürk and Bologna on 1 March. Meanwhile, last week it was announced that it had become the official airline partner of Manchester United football club.

Traffic statistics for the carriers belonging to the Association of European Airlines (AEA) reveal that passenger numbers fell by 5.8% in 2009. Traffic as measured in RPKs (revenue passenger kilometres) only fell by 4.5% while capacity as measured in ASKs (available seat kilometres) fell just 4.2% resulting in the average load factor falling by 0.3 percentage points to 76.0%.

During the second half of 2009 the traffic declines were not as great and by December passenger numbers were up once more on a year-over-year comparison, thanks to a two percentage point improvement in load factor. This trend has continued into 2010 with capacity down 2% in January but passenger numbers up 1.8% resulting in a 2.5 percentage point load factor improvement.

The recovery in traffic was driven by the stabilisation in demand for cross-border European traffic and a return to growth in the domestic market. Traffic to Asia and North America is still down on a year-over-year basis.

AEA airlines: Traffic by region January 2008 to January 2010 vly

Source: AEA

Passenger numbers on routes to and from the Middle East continued to grow by between 6% and 12% during the second half of 2009 with African routes also reporting increased demand.

Malev, Swiss and Turkish Airlines report more passengers

Malev was one of three AEA member airlines to report increased passenger numbers in 2009. The airline began daily services between Budapest and Belgrade on 14 December. The route is operated using 72-seater Q400s.

A look at passenger numbers across the 28 member airlines reporting shows that just three (Turkish Airlines, Malev and Swiss), reported an increase in passenger numbers in 2009.

AEA airlines performance 2009 Change in passenger numbers 2009 (Jan-Dec) v 2008

Source: AEA

Four airlines saw passenger numbers drop by more than 15%. These were Aerosvit (Ukraine), bmi (UK), JAT Airways (Serbia) and SAS (Scandinavia). In January 2010 Turkish Airlines reported a 27% increase in passengers and a 37% increase in traffic (RPKs) thanks to its growing long-haul network. Traffic was also up significantly at Alitalia (+25.9%), Tarom (+23.8%), Icelandair (+22.3%), and LOT (+15.3%).

AEA airlines performance 2009 Change in passenger load factors 2009 (Jan-Dec) v 2008

Source: AEA

A comparison of average load factors in 2009 with 2008 reveals that some of those airlines who cut capacity most (Aerosvit and bmi) also saw their load factors improve by the largest amount. Malev’s achievement is laudable as it not only increased passenger numbers by 3.6% but also managed to improve its load factor by 2.9 percentage points. However, capacity (ASKs) was actually down 17% after the airline abandoned its long-haul flying during 2008.

The poorest year-round load factors were reported by JAT (55.4%), Tarom (55.6%) and Olympic Air/Airlines (58.5%). KLM had the best annual load factor at 81.3%, ahead of Swiss (80.1%).

Ryanair stretches lead over Lufthansa in passenger numbers

AEA member airlines claim nine of the top 12 positions among Europe’s largest airlines (as measured in passenger numbers) in 2009. However, three of the top six positions are filled by non-AEA airlines with Ryanair leading the way with over 65 million annual passengers.

Europe's top 12 airlines Passengers flown in 2009 (ranking in 2008)

Source: AEA, airberlin, easyJet, Ryanair

The top six positions have remained unchanged since last year but Turkish Airlines has risen three places from tenth to seventh. Iberia and SAS have both slipped two places while the ‘new’ Alitalia has overtaken Iberia for tenth place.


New route? New airline? Email us! Let's all celebrate your new routes. Please send photos and route details to James Davis, anna.aero's Assistant Editor. Contact James.

Comments

Comments are closed