07 November 2008

Euro LCCs: A Quantam of..?

The big 3 European Low Cost Carriers have reported their October traffic numbers. They make for interesting reading.

Here are the numbers.

Ryanair carried 5.35m passengers last month, 18% more than in October 2007, taking its rolling 12-month total to 56.8m. October load factor was flat at 85% and on a rolling 12-month basis averaged 81.5%. They have already announced significant cut backs for the Winter months that could see capacity fall by as much as 25%.

For easyJet, October passenger numbers grew by a similar 18.4% to 3.96m, taking its rolling 12-month total to 44.27m (+17.6%). October loads were 1.4 percentage points ahead at 83.9%, and on a rolling 12-month basis 0.5pp ahead at 84.2%. Thus continuing their LF trends higher than their Irish rival.

Alas on the mainland things don't look so good. Passenger numbers at Air Berlin declined by 4.4% year-on-year to 2.7m last month, due to a ‘targeted capacity reduction’ of about 80,000 seats. Load factor dropped 1.6% to 80.1%. Still pretty healthy Air Berlin seems to have stabilized at about half the traffic of Ryanair.

For other airlines in the LCC category things are not looking too good. XL Airways (UK) and Zoom both left the field followed by Sterling last month. But bright spots from the UK include traffic growth at Jet2, and Monarch Scheduled. There is continued uncertainty in Germany over the fate of the musical chairs game being played out with TUI/Thomas Cook/Euro Wings+German Wings and Lufthansa. Air Berlin's ability to play has been weakened by their need to absorb all the hodge podge of traffic they acquired with LTU, DBA etc. The latter of which is no longer an entity.


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