Passengers desert Adria

The smiles soon to fade
Four months into the new year passenger data for Slovenia’s Adria Airways and Croatia Airlines have finally surfaced. Although figures are only for the first two months of the year the Association of European Airlines (AEA) has published passenger numbers for 32 carriers on the continent. From the data one can note the large decrease of passengers across Europe while Adria Airways is performing the worst out of the three largest national carriers from the EX-YU region.

In January the Slovenian carrier saw a 10.8% decrease in passenger numbers when compared to 2008. During that month Serbia’s Jat Airways performed the worst with a total 14.6% decrease. Croatia Airlines was one of the rare carriers in Europe to have positive results. Largely thanks to the World Handball Championships and domestic traffic the Croatian carrier managed an impressive 4.7% increase in passenger figures for the month. However even Croatia Airlines could not sustain growth in February. The carrier had 2.8% less passengers in February 2009 than last year. Jat Airways had a drop of 15.1% while Adria fared the worst with passenger figures dropping by 19.1%. Adria also noted big drops in cargo transportation, capacity and cabin occupancy.

Overall for the first two months of the year Adria Airways lost 14.9% passengers compared to last year. Jat Airways is nearby with a loss of 14.8% while many European carriers can only be envious of Croatia Airlines which overall had a 1.1% increase in passenger figures. The real test for the Croatian carrier will be during June, July and August during the peak of the summer and tourist season. Jat Airways continues to be the only EX-YU carrier to regularly publish its passenger statistics. It should publish its March results during next week. It is interesting to note that the best performing carrier in Europe is currently Turkish Airlines with an 11.3% increase in passengers while Icelandair performs worst with a 26.7% passenger loss.

The figures reveal the extent of the current downturn. Compared to the corresponding months of 2008, passenger traffic across Europe was down 3.9% in January and 8.8% in February, although this latter figure was measured against a 29-day month last year and a truer figure would be minus 5.5%.