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IAG Group March Traffic Rises 6.2%

International Consolidated Airlines Group or IAG (IAG.L, BAY.L, BAIRY.PK) on Wednesday reported a 6.2 percent increase in traffic for the month of March, while capacity rose 1.1 percent and passenger load factor rose 3.8 points. The airline recorded increases in both premium and non-premium traffic.

The parent company of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia Airlines said that its March group traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres, rose to 14.07 billion from 13.25 billion in the same period last year.

The traffic growth was primarily attributable to a 16.3 percent increase in North America, 6.4 percent growth in Africa, Middle East and South Asia, 3.5 percent increase in Latin American & Caribbean, and 0.2 percent increase in Europe.

This was partially offset by a 6.1 percent decline in traffic in the domestic region of UK and Spain, and 2.8 percent decrease in Asia Pacific.

Group premium traffic for March grew by 6.7 percent compared to the previous year, while non-premium traffic rose 6.2 percent.

British Airways' traffic grew 10.2 percent from last year to 9.99 billion revenue passenger kilometers, while Iberia airline traffic declined 2.5 percent to 4.08 billion revenue passenger kilometers.

IAG's total capacity, measured in available seat kilometres, grew to 17.86 billion from 17.66 billion a year ago. The increase was led by 8.7 percent growth in North America, 2.3 percent increase in the Latin America & Caribbean region, and 0.7 percent rise in Africa, Middle East and South Asia. This was partially offset primarily by a 12.1 percent capacity drop in the domestic region of U.K. and Spain, 8.9 percent decline in Asia Pacific, and 3.6 percent decrease in Europe.

Passengers carried by IAG in the month rose 1.4 percent from the year-ago period to 4.22 million. The company noted that a 15 percent increase in passengers in the North America region was offset by an 8.8 percent decline in passengers in the domestic region of UK and Spain.

Passenger load factor, or proportion of available seats filled against the capacity, increased 3.8 points to 78.8 percent from 75.0 percent in the prior-year period. Overall load factor rose 1 point to 73.7 percent.

IAG's cargo tonne kilometers declined 2.9 percent from last year to 542 million, while available tonne kilometers rose 2.2 percent to 2.55 billion. Total revenue tonne kilometers grew 3.5 percent to 1.88 billion.

IAG said that underlying market conditions at its London Heathrow hub continued to appear firm, in particular in the North Atlantic market.

However, the company noted that its Spanish operations continued to be impacted by the ongoing threat of industrial action - 30 new days have been announced between April and July - and further deterioration of Spanish macroeconomic prospects in the short term.

In Wednesday's session on the LSE, IAG.L is trading at 179.00 pence, down 2.40 pence or 1.32 percent on a volume of 10.07 million shares.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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