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Delta reported solid business travel demand despite a 1 percent year-over-year drop in total passenger revenue to $7.7 billion in the first quarter. The carrier made progress on pushing business fares up during the quarter, Delta president
Glen Hauenstein said. Delta has recovered about half of the double-digit-percentage
decline in average domestic business fares it experienced from early 2015 to autumn
2016, he said. Traffic increased 0.5 percent, and the carrier reduced capacity 0.5
percent. For the full year, Delta plans to cap capacity growth at 1 percent to help push
unit revenue up, Hauenstein said. Delta’s load factor in the third quarter increased
0.8 percentage points to 82.9 percent. Yield declined 1.4 percent year over year.
In the first quarter, United saw strong momentum in corporate business,
as corporate revenue rose 11 percent year over year, president Scott
Kirby said. The previous three quarters, corporate revenue had declined an
average of 1 percent year over year. Additionally, close-in bookings, which
tend to come from business travelers, rose 12 percent year over year in the
first quarter. An improving operational performance has driven that growth,
executives said. Passenger revenue increased 2.6 percent year over year to
$7.2 billion. Traffic increased 2. 2 percent, and capacity increased 2.6 percent,
pushing load factor down 0.3 percentage points to 79.9 percent.
American Airlines reported it increased its share of corporate business
in the first quarter as total revenue increased 2 percent year over year
to $9.6 billion. Traffic declined 1.5 percent as the carrier trimmed capacity
1.1 percent. Load factor declined 0.4 percentage points to 79.2 percent, and
yield increased 2. 4 percent. American also committed to invest $200 million
for a 2. 8 percent stake in China Southern Airlines.
Alaska Airlines and Virgin America’s combined passenger reve-
nue increased 2 percent year over year to $1.5 billion in the first
quarter. The merged company expects to receive a single operating certif-
icate in the first quarter of next year. The carriers’ combined traffic increased
4. 7 percent year over year during the first quarter, and capacity increased 4. 9
percent. Load factor declined 0.2 percentage points to 81.3 percent.
Southwest Airlines passenger
revenue increased 0.6 percent
year over year to $4.4 billion in
the first quarter. Traffic increased
3. 3 percent. CEO Gary Kelly noted
a “challenging fare environment,”
as the average fare decreased
2.6 percent to $149.78. Southwest
increased capacity 4.1 percent, and
load factor declined 0.6 percentage
points to 79.9 percent.
Lufthansa Group traffic revenue
increased 10. 9 percent year over
year to € 5. 8 billion during the
first quarter. Some of that growth
stemmed from the full consolidation of Brussels Airlines, but CFO
Ulrik Svensson said pricing also
improved, and yields for Lufthansa
Group passenger airlines improved
for the first time since 2013.
Air France-KLM passenger revenue increased 1.4 percent year
over year to € 4. 5 billion in the
first quarter. Traffic rose 4. 2 percent
as capacity increased 3. 3 percent,
pushing load factor up 0.7 percentage points to 85.4 percent, and the
company reported that advance
bookings indicate a “resilient start”
for the second quarter. Executives
also said fares are beginning to stabilize and unit revenue from premium
class tickets rose 4. 9 percent year
over year during the first quarter.
International Airlines Group
corporate bookings rose even as
passenger revenue declined year
over year to € 4. 3 billion during the
first quarter. IAG increased capacity
3. 3 percent, and load factor rose
0.1 percentage points to 79 percent.
During the first quarter, JetBlue’s passenger revenue declined
1.8 percent year over year to $1.5 billion. Traffic increased 3. 9
percent as capacity increased 4. 2 percent, diminishing load factor
by 0.3 percentage points to 83.9 percent. The carrier’s average fare
declined 7. 8 percent year over year to $149.41 during the first quarter.