Downsizing sees US carriers report healthier load factors
Friday, January 09, 2009: Despite lower traveller numbers, massive cuts in capacity have seen major US carriers report healthier load factors for the peak month of December, statistics show.
Stronger load factors have translated to a surprisingly solid industry in North America despite the ongoing economic instability, with IATA also recording steadier traffic numbers in the region over the last few months.
“I think they’re in a lot stronger shape,” said one aviation analyst recently to Reuters.
“I can’t see any of the airlines filing for bankruptcy unless you see demand drop like 30%.”
For example, Delta Air Lines in December recorded an 11.5% drop in passenger numbers, and despite this, load factors for the carrier rose to 79.9% 1.1% higher than the same month in 2007.
Continental Airlines saw traffic drop by 6.7%, but load factors were also up, slightly more than Delta at 1.2% to also sit at 79.9% in December.
American Airlines too saw traffic drop by 8.2%, its load factors also went up, this time edging over the 80% mark to sit at 81.6%, representing a 3.9% increase over 2007 December figures.
Additionally, plummeting fuel costs have meant that airlines have been able to keep costs down and free up cash.