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British Airways’ December performance reflects global trade meltdown

British Airways today, reported its performance for December 2008. The airline’s performance is in line with IATA’s November 2008 report, which highlights a deepening of the global economic slowdown.

Capacity declines are in line with actual performance. Compared to December 2007, passenger capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK), was down 3 percent, Actual passenger performance, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPK), fell by 3.4 per cent, passenger load factor decreased by 0.2 per cent to 76.7 per cent.

It also appears that corporate passengers are belt tightening, and moving to the back of the plane. Premium passenger traffic (first and business class) decreased by 12.1 per cent while economy decreased by a comparatively modest 1.7 per cent.

The alarming fall, which highlights economic slowdown, is in cargo performance, measured in Freight Tonne Kilometres (FTK), fell by 14.3 per cent.

Globally air cargo transports about 35 per cent to 40 per cent of global trade, by value. Globally, air cargo FTK fell by 13.5 per cent in November 2008, when compared to a year ago. The December fall by British Airways, highlight the continuing and rapid decline of global trade, and deepening of the already significant economic slowdown.

2009 will see economies become a lot worse before improving.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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