British Airways Outage Dents IAG’s Traffic Figures

June 6, 2017

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International Airlines Group posted its traffic figures for May, a month that included British Airways’ IT meltdown and subsequent public relations problems.

IAG said that group traffic in revenue passenger km (RPK) terms for the month was up 1.8 percent against the previous year period. British Airways, however, reported a 1.8 percent drop in RPK traffic as a result of the major computer outage on May 27. Passenger load factor for the group was up 0.7 percentage points at 80.5 percent.

BA cancelled 479 flights on the 27th, 59 percent of its operations. As systems started to return to normal the airline operated 193 flights, 23 percent of the usual number on May 29, and “the vast majority of its schedule” on May 29. Reports suggest about 75,000 passengers were affected by the outage.

“An independent investigation will examine every aspect of the power failure,” the airline said in a statement. “British Airways is working hard to compensate affected passengers as quickly as possible.”

One bright spot for the UK airline in May was in cargo where it increased the amount of freight carried by 3.9 percent.

Elsewhere in the group, May was a positive month with its other units all showing growth in passenger and cargo traffic. Leading the list was Irish carrier Aer Lingus with a 10.6 percent RPK traffic increase on an available seat km (ASK) capacity increase of 10.9 percent. Cargo carried jumped 27.3 percent in May.

Spanish carriers Iberia and Vueling also saw traffic increases, with Iberia RPK traffic up 7.2 percent on a capacity increase of 3.3 percent. Cargo carried rose 4.9 percent. Low cost airline Vueling returned a 4.6 percent RPK increase on a 3.6 percent ASK capacity lift.

IAG launched its new Barcelona-based long-haul low cost carrier LEVEL at the beginning of June, with an inaugural flight to Los Angeles. LEVEL will fly to four destinations initially, with more to follow next year. More than 134,000 tickets have been sold since the LCC’s launch in March.