AEA airlines see growth in 2012, but financial remain challenging
During 2012, members of the Association of European Airlines registered a passenger growth of 2.4% with all route areas showing an increase except domestic.
For the 29 reporting AEA members a total of 370 million passengers were transported, of which 278 million travelled on European services and 92 million on services to destinations in the Middle and Far East, Africa, Australasia and the Americas.
Compared to 2011, an additional 8.7 million passengers chose AEA member airlines. One of the strongest growth areas for the European carriers was North Africa where traffic has been restored since the political turmoil of 2011.
Also passenger volumes to South-America and the Far East developed well thanks to their booming economies. Compared to other geographical areas, air travel in Europe registered only a moderate growth of 1.5%, well below the overall 2.4% traffic increase.
Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) offered by AEA members increased by 2% and Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPK) grew by 4.3%.
These encouraging traffic results are not reflected in the financial performance of the airlines. As already announced in December, AEA forecasts an EBIT (Earnings before interest and tax) loss due to a strong increase of external costs exacerbated by weak European currencies, aviation-related regulatory burdens, and a weak external aviation policy that affects the international competitiveness of European airlines.
To reflect the preparedness for new challenges in the organisation of AEA, CEOs of member airlines have chosen to shift to a two-year tenure for the AEA Chairman, which will enable more efficiency. This means that current Chairman, Mr Bernard Gustin, CEO of Brussels Airlines will remain in position until end of 2013. At the same time, the CEOs have created a Vice-Chairman position, Mr Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Airlines being nominated to fulfil this position for the very first time.