U.S. traffic to Europe rose by 3.4 percent in June, the first month this year in which it increased, DNA Martin is reporting. According to the latest figures from the Department of Commerce, U.S. departures for Europe reached 1,549,743 for the month. June is consistently the strongest month for U.S. travel to Europe, and this was the strongest June since at least 2007.
Admittedly, U.S. departures for Europe are still down for the year, but only by 0.5 percent. As such, a peak-season surge seems on the verge of making up for a slow winter and early spring.
Trans-Atlantic airfares on major routes are holding steady for the summer, but will drop as much as 23 percent by mid-September. Unfortunately, they will still be higher than off-peak fares tracked a year previously.
The dollar dropped to just over €0.75, but was still within a relatively narrow trading range with the euro range; that’s been the case since February.
Fares on the routes DNA Martin tracks are dropping 18 to 23 percent as of mid-September, but the decline for November is considerably less than it was a year ago. The lowest New York-London fare for September 11-18 travel fell $51 between late June and late July, but remained well above last year’s equivalent quote.
U.S. airlines reported an 8 percent increase in trans-Atlantic yields in June, according to Airlines for America. It was the largest percent increase in monthly yield since November 2011 and followed a flat month in May. This further suggests that airlines have, together, successfully managed trans-Atlantic capacity to push fares up through the fall.
Delta said it would launch non-stop service from Seattle to Heathrow next March, assuming that its joint-venture with Virgin Atlantic clears the last approval hurdle with the Dept. of Transportation approval. Delta, which plans to fly a 767-300, would be taking on British Airways, which has been flying the route with a 747-400 for some time.
In the deal with Virgin (of which Delta is buying 49 percent), Delta gains access to more Heathrow slots; Seattle will be its sixth U.S. gateway to Heathrow, in addition to JFK, Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Detroit.
The Wall Street Journal, citing the International Air Transport Association, also reported that European airlines are reporting increased passenger traffic for the second month in a row, and noted that this reflects "a tentative improvement" in the region's economy.
The improvement contributed to an overall 6 percent growth in passenger traffic for June, compared with last year, and pushed the passenger load factor to 81.7 percent. Specifically, European carriers recorded 4.7 percent growth over the previous June and 3.4 percent in capacity pushing load factors to 83.2 percent.