Capacity steering attuned to demand in first-half 2013 ensures fuller aircraft in passenger and freight traffic
The aircraft of all airlines in the Lufthansa Group – Lufthansa German Airlines (including Germanwings and Lufthansa Regional), SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa Cargo –were better utilised in the first half 2013. Increased utilisation is attributable to more demand-driven and more flexible steering of capacity measured in seat and freight-tonne kilometres than in the previous term. All in all, the Group airlines carried a total of around 49.5 million passengers in the first six months – virtually as many as in the previous year (minus 0.4 per cent) despite a smaller number of flights. This was achieved by deploying new and bigger aircraft, which are also more fuel-efficient and quieter.
Although capacity was down marginally (minus 0.1 per cent) across the Group, the airlines in the Group lifted sales (in revenue seat-kilometres) in the first half by 1.4 per cent. In the passenger business, the seat load factor rose accordingly by 1.2 percentage points to 78.1 per cent. The cargo load factor for the Group closed the term at 69.1 per cent, a plus of 0.1 percentage points on the level for the first half in the previous year.
Lufthansa German Airlines (including Germanwings and Lufthansa Regional) raised the seat load factor in the first half-year by 0.9 percentage points to 77.4 per cent. Capacity at the airline remained virtually stable with an increase of only 0.2 per cent in the period from January through June, while revenue seat-kilometre traffic rose over-proportionately by 1.4 per cent. The number of passengers carried by Lufthansa German Airlines totaled about 36 million, roughly on a par with the prior year. SWISS improved the seat load factor by 1.7 percentage points to 82.3 per cent. The airline raised capacity by 2.1 per cent in the first six months, while revenue-passenger kilometer traffic increased by 4.3 per cent. The first-half passenger count was up by 0.8 per cent to a total of 8.2 million. Austrian Airlines scaled back capacity in terms of seat-kilometres by 7.4 per cent, the downturn in sales was contained at an under-proportional 5.3 per cent. Owing to the capacity adjustments, passenger numbers fell against the year-earlier level by three per cent to 5.3 million. At the same time, Austrian Airlines lifted the seat load factor by 1.7 percentage points to 75.7 per cent.
Successful capacity steering was also instrumental in raising the cargo load factor at Lufthansa Cargo by 0.8 percentage points to 70.0 per cent. The cargo carrier trimmed capacity in the first half by 3.9 per cent but sales fell at a lower 2.8 per cent. During the term, Lufthansa Cargo carried 839,000 tonnes of freight and mail, down by 3.5 per cent. The airline successfully slowed the decline in tonnage significantly in the second quarter.