UA December Traffic Fell

CaptJax

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United Airlines says December traffic fell
AP ONLINE
Posted: 2009-01-05 18:19:00

CHICAGO (AP) — Traffic on United Airlines fell 11.5 percent in December from a year earlier, with the worst weakness on flights in the Pacific region, according to preliminary figures released Monday.

However, flights were slightly more full than a year earlier because United slashed capacity on scheduled flights by 12.7 percent in response to high fuel prices early in the year.

Traffic fell across all regions, with United boarding 4.66 million passengers in December compared with 5.13 million a year earlier.

United, a unit of Chicago-based UAL Corp., said domestic traffic measured in miles flown by paying customers fell 18.8 percent in the Pacific, 9.5 percent in North America and Latin America and 7.6 percent across the Atlantic.

Capacity shrank the most on Pacific routes, down 16.2 percent, followed by 13.8 percent in North America and smaller declines to Latin America and Europe.

The average flight had 79.9 percent of seats sold, an increase of 1.1 percentage points from December 2007 because the capacity cuts left fewer available seats. The percentage of unsold seats grew faster on Pacific and Atlantic flights.

For the full year, traffic fell 6.5 percent, including 8.6 percent in North America and 9.8 percent in the Pacific. Capacity was trimmed 4.5 percent.

United said it carried 63.1 million passengers in 2008, down from 68.4 million in 2007.

Shares of UAL fell 42 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $11.45.
 

contrail67

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did anyone report an increase in traffic????...this is not just United that this is happening to.

The economic downturn will be far worse for airlines than previously forecast, marking only the second time in 35 years that traffic has fallen, IATA data show.
Global traffic is expected to fall by 3% next year, and growth worldwide is not expected to move beyond 4% per year until 2011. With economies the world over weaker than predicted, IATA forecasts that its travel forecast for 2016 will by 9% lower than previously thought.
After two years of declining traffic, the industry should begin its recovery by 2011, the IATA data show. This meshes with historical trends, which hold that weakness in travel markets generally lasts for three years before rebounding.
But IATA warns that the previously torrid growth forecast is unlikely to be repeated. "Travel volumes rarely return to the previous trend or peak-to-peak growth," IATA says, citing the previous downturns of 1979, 1991 and 2001.
The current downturn marks only the second time in 35 years that traffic growth has actually contracted. In 1991, traffic contracted after a global recession. In 2001, the unusual growth in the credit markets fueled a larger-than-expected bump in traffic, but this is unlikely to be replicated any time soon, IATA says.
Aggressive capacity cuts in the U.S. could insulate the industry's bottom line, IATA says, although this trend has not been mirrored elsewhere. IATA notes that worldwide, carriers are moving to cut capacity to bring it in line with demand for air travel, which could make this recession less harmful than the 1991 or 2001 recessions
 
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Skippy

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hey contrail-- my favorite in teh company email was that the- in not so many words- the hug emistake we made in hedging fuel shoube be eaqualized in APRIL!!!! i guess that makes it ok that they truly screwed it up--- UFB
 

contrail67

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I saw that...sometimes lessons learned are best learned from consequences you receive directly.
 

bluefin

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Maybe people are not flying UAL because they suck! Has any one thought of that. Nickel and diming your passengers to death and crappy service, could that be a possibility also?
 

AAflyer

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I think everyone is feeling it, look at the graph at the bottom....




If anyone doubted that U.S. airlines were serious about cutting their capacity, the carriers are offering convincing proof from December and for all of 2008.

Last year, Southwest Airlines Co. grew at its slowest rate in two decades, American Airlines Inc.'s flying capacity in 2008 was its lowest since 2001 and all the major carriers that have reported so far flew less capacity in December than a year earlier.

U.S. carriers reacted to soaring fuel prices last spring and summer by announcing plans to reduce their capacity in available seat miles. The cutbacks began in late summer and continued through the end of 2008.

Now some industry consultants have raised questions about whether airlines may need to implement more capacity cuts in 2009 on top of the drastic reductions they have already imposed.

The goal is to keep filling airplanes at profitable fares, and falling demand in early 2009 may prompt the elimination of more flights.

In October, Boyd Group International estimated that U.S. airlines would carry 7.8 percent fewer passengers in 2009 than in 2008.

"As of today, we should be so lucky," the Evergreen, Colo., consultancy said this week. "Since then, the economic and political pictures have completely changed."

As a result, it is now predicting that enplanements will drop 10.2 percent in 2009.

American spokesman Tim Smith said the carrier originally decided to reduce flying in reaction to the fuel prices, which now have fallen to their lowest levels in several years.

However, the reductions "ultimately seem to have been a good strategy to better position American to deal with a severe economic downturn and less demand for travel," Smith said.

"What we, and others, don't know for sure at this time is exactly where or when the bottom of the recession will be," he said. "Accordingly, we're watching the economy as well as demand trends very closely to determine whether any further capacity changes will be necessary in the months ahead."

In a report Monday to investors, airline analyst Gary Chase of Barclays Capital said the industry "continues to show discipline on the capacity front." He expects 2009 domestic capacity to decline about 7.5 percent from 2008 on top of last year's 4 percent drop from 2007. Including international routes, he's looking at about a 6 percent reduction in capacity in 2009.

"We continue to see the potential for further reductions by the industry as carriers adjust schedules and react to the recent weakening in demand," he said.

For American, its 2008 capacity fell to its lowest levels since 2001, when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks disrupted its operations and prompted it to cut capacity.

However, the 3.8 percent reduction in capacity from 2007 helped it record its second-highest load factor for a full year, 80.6 percent, despite a 4.8 percent decline in traffic. Only in 2007 did American fill a greater percentage of its seats during a year – 81.5 percent.

Southwest reported Tuesday that its traffic increased only 1.6 percent last year on a 3.6 percent increase in flying capacity. Those numbers represent its most modest growth since its traffic declined 1.5 percent in 1988 on a 0.2 percent reduction in capacity.

Despite that, the Dallas-based carrier is expected to be one of only a handful of U.S. carriers to report any growth during the year.

Southwest spokeswoman Beth Harbin said 2009 "will be another exciting year" with service to begin in March at Minneapolis-St. Paul and later this year at New York's LaGuardia Airport.

"For 2009, we're continuing to watch the competitive moves brought about by the dip in the economy and will continue to focus on getting the most out of our flying schedule and making the most of revenue opportunities," she said.

Among other big carriers, Continental Airlines Inc. said its traffic last year declined 1.8 percent as it reduced its flying by 0.6 percent. United Airlines Inc. saw a 6.5 percent decrease in traffic as its capacity fell 4.5 percent.

Only AirTran Airways Inc. and Alaska Airlines Inc., two of the smaller major carriers, joined Southwest in reporting 2008 increases in traffic.

AirTran was the biggest gainer, saying its 2008 traffic jumped 9.6 percent, outstripping its 4.9 percent increase in capacity. Alaska Air's traffic increased 1.4 percent, with its capacity essentially flat.

While AirTran outpaced Southwest when all of 2008 is included, AirTran outshrank Southwest in December. AirTran's capacity fell 6.9 percent, compared with Southwest's 1 percent decline.

For the month, Southwest's traffic grew 1.1 percent despite the drop in capacity. Its load factor, or percentage of seats filled, increased 1.5 points to 69.7 percent. December marked the first time in seven months that Southwest's loads increased over the same month in 2007.

For many carriers, the biggest reductions are coming on domestic routes. In December, American reduced its capacity overall by 8.6 percent but cut its domestic capacity 11.8 percent compared with December 2007. Continental's capacity fell 9 percent overall, but 12.1 percent domestically.

Counting Capacity

Airline December Full Year
AirTran -6.9% +4.9%
Alaska -10.9% 0.0%
American -8.6% -3.9%
Continental -9.0% -0.6%
Southwest -1.0% +3.6%
UAL -8.4% -4.5%
Total -8.4% -1.5%

AAflyer
 

contrail67

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Maybe people are not flying UAL because they suck! Has any one thought of that. Nickel and diming your passengers to death and crappy service, could that be a possibility also?

Not sure why this post focuses on UAL....OBVIOUSLY is it not just them...period.
 

AAflyer

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Not sure why this post focuses on UAL....OBVIOUSLY is it not just them...period.
No kidding, who has nicked and dimmed me as of late with poor service;

1. Attorney

2. Holiday Inn

3. Multiple Gas Stations

4. Avis Rental Car

5. Macys

6. Oh ya, the the US government.


AAflyer
 

Benhuntn

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SWA for Dec. reported RPM's up 1.1 percent and ASM's down 1%. Load factor was 69.7 up 1.5%.
 
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