More passengers taking to the skies

Scandinavian airline SAS has announced a record load factor for July, with 77 percent of seats filled.

This figure was up 3 percent on July 2004, and the total number of passengers was up 5.2 percent on a year ago.

The figures showed that the fare reductions on the company’s domestic flights in Sweden have started to attract new passengers, with the load factor on these routes up 13.6 percent to 78 percent. Load factor on many routes was affected by reductions in capacity. Capacity on SAS was down 5.4 percent.

Other SAS subsidiaries also showed promising figures. Blue 1, the group’s Finnish airline, saw its load factor rise by 20 percent to 76 percent. The number of passengers on Spanish subsidiary Spanair increased by more than ten percent, although increased capacity on the airline meant that the load factor was up only by a modest 1.3 percent.

SAS may have been helped by an overall rise in the number of people flying from Sweden’s airports. LFV, which operates most major airports, said that passenger numbers were up five percent in July, compared to the same month in 2004. The number of passengers on international flights was up seven percent, whereas figures for domestic travel were up only one percent.

The biggest growth was seen at Malmö’s Sturup airport, where passenger figures were up 11 percent on the year. Growth at Stockholm Arlanda was up 7 percent, and at Gothenburg’s Landvetter it was up 6 percent.