Traffic recovery continued to accelerate during the first half of the year, according o the latest statistics from the ERA. With data collected from 35 of the group’s 67 member carriers, revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) between January and June of this year increased by 9.9 percent, compared with a growth rate of 5.4 percent in the same period last year. Available seat kilometers (ASKs) increased by 9.3 percent over the same six months, up from 4.1 percent last year.
The overall number of passengers carried rose by 5.6 percent and the average passenger load factor went virtually unchanged at 59.8 percent. Average aircraft seating capacity for the ERA fleet stood still at 68 passengers.
Some carriers enjoyed strong double-digit growth, such as Aegean Airlines (Greece), Air Nostrum (Spain), Air Southwest (UK), AirBaltic (Latvia), Carpatair (Romania), Cimber Air (Denmark), Contact Air (Germany), Lithuanian Airlines and Tyrolean Airways (Austria). However, several other airlines saw decline in both RPKs and ASKs, including Air Dolomiti (Italy), Augsburg Airways (Germany), Eurowings (Germany), Malmo Aviation (Sweden), Skyways (Sweden) and Swiss.
The average sector distance increased by just over 5 percent, from 521 km (323 miles) to 549 km (341 miles), while average sector time rose by three minutes, to 1 hour 14 minutes. The average number of hours flown each day increased slightly, to
six hours for turboprops and seven hours for jets.
The overall ERA member fleet actually dipped marginally, from 1,084 in 2004 to 1,069 this year. Significantly, the number of turboprop aircraft declined by 7.5 percent between those periods, while the jet contingent grew slightly, to 598. The average age of aircraft climbed by 18 months, to 10.5 years, the average turboprop logging in at 12.1 years and the average jet at 9.2 years. Proportionately, turboprops now figure more prominently in the regional airline fleets of southern and eastern Europe.