Japan Airlines (JAL) has recorded year-on-year growth in international passenger traffic for the first time since the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.
The airline carried 601,900 passengers on international flights in February 2012 – 4.5% more than the same month last year. The growth was boosted by a slight rise in available seat capacity, which expanded 0.6%. JAL’s international load factors for the month averaged 72.8%.
The resurgence was led by JAL’s routes to and from China, which saw a 20.3% rise in passenger traffic to 90,700. European routes also fared well, with traffic rising 18.5% to 52,900 passengers. Trans-Pacific routes experienced a 3.5% drop in traffic to 128,300 passengers, the largest decline of any region. JAL will be hopeful however, that this will climb in the coming month following the launch of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner services to Boston on 22 April and San Diego later this year.
JAL’s domestic recovery however, continues to lag behind its international routes. The airline carried 2.3 million passengers on routes within Japan in February 2012, 2.3% down year-on-year. Load factors dipped slightly to 62.2%.
In the 11 months following the 11 March disasters, JAL’s domestic passenger traffic has dropped 15.4%. This has been largely in line with a 14.9% contraction of available seat capacity however, keeping load factors are a steady, but still subdued, 62.4%.