Virgin Australia managed to outpace global airline industry growth in April to produce a solid 6.7 per cent rise in group passenger numbers.
The group increase, which outstripped a 6.1 per cent rise in global passenger demand for April, was fuelled by a strong 7.9 per cent rise in domestic customers.
It compared with a Qantas group increase of 4.6 per cent, driven by growth at Jetstar and QantasLink, but a 3.1 per cent fall at Qantas domestic and 2.1 per cent fall at Qantas international.
An 8.5 per cent rise in group capacity saw load factors down 3.6 percentage points to 77 per cent while a massive 15 per cent increase in domestic capacity cut load factors in that market by 4.1 points to 77.1 per cent.
The airline said the high-capacity growth was driven by a low base period in April as well as the introduction of widebody Airbus A330 aircraft and the replacement of Boeing 737-700s with bigger 737-800s. It expected full-year capacity growth to be less than 10 per cent.
Virgin said April saw a continuation of positive yield growth and double-digit revenue growth for the domestic business.
Virgin chief John Borghetti said late last month that the market was softening in the leisure sector but appeared to be resilient in terms of business travellers.
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