It’s that time of the month once again. That time when the airlines report their traffic (and in some cases estimated revenue per available seat mile (RASM) performance) for the previous month.
Remember, while higher load factors are nice, what’s even better is knowing those butts in seats paid more, not less, for the privilege.
The reporting kicked off with Continental Airlines, as always, which issued their numbers late last Friday. The result there?
The airline estimated that its April consolidated RASM was down 12.5-13.5%. While these numbers might look ominous, the results are actually on the high side of the range last given by the airline.
The airline had originally said that it expected RASM to be down between 13-15%.
While only a small improvement over what had been expected — the key word here is “improvement.” Not unexpected “decline.”
US Airways also gives monthly RASM guidance, as does JetBlue. So Tuesday it was time to parse through the US Airways numbers.
US Airways said Tuesday that its total April mainline traffic fell 3% from a year ago to 5 billion revenue passenger miles. Capacity fell 4.8% to 5.9 billion available seat miles, while its load factor rose 1.6 points to 84.8%.
More importantly, the airline said that consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) was down approximately 8% to 10% versus the same period last year while total revenue per available seat mile decreased between 4% and 6%on a year-over-year basis.
Again, these numbers were just a tad better than previously forecast, as the airline had said it expected April RASM to come in down around 10%.
Yes, it does look like the declines in revenue have begun to level out.
Okay, so who’s going to pick up the tab for the cold beers this afternoon? Yee haw.