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Azul's (AZUL) September Traffic Surges 120% Year Over Year

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Azul (AZUL - Free Report) reported impressive traffic numbers for September, with air-travel demand improving in Latin America. People are increasingly opting for air travel nowadays as fears of contracting the coronavirus have declined owing to widespread vaccination programs.

Considering this upbeat scenario, it was small wonder that Azul’s domestic traffic for the month skyrocketed 125.6% from the year-ago period’s number. Capacity expanded 126.7% year over year in response to higher demand. With capacity growth outweighing the traffic increase, load factor (percentage of seats filled by passengers) moved southward in the month by 0.4 percentage points (p.p.) to 80.3%. Traffic and capacity (domestic) increased 8.7% and 11.1%, respectively, from the September 2019 (pre-pandemic levels) numbers. On the international front, traffic and capacity surged 53.6% and 72.8%, respectively, on a year-over-year basis. Consequently, load factor fell 8.3 p.p. to 66.3%.

Moreover, consolidated load factor at Azul also plunged 0.8 p.p. to 79.4% in September. Consolidated traffic and capacity were up 120.1% and 122.3%, respectively. However, traffic and capacity have plunged 10.6% and 6.2%, respectively, from 2019 levels. Another Brazilian carrier, Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes’ (GOL - Free Report) September traffic rose from August levels entirely on domestic strength as the airline did not operate regular international flights in August. We also expect the Latin American carrier, Copa Holdings (CPA - Free Report) , to deliver solid September traffic statistics on a year-over-year basis owing to air-travel demand recovery. The airline is anticipated to announce its September traffic data later in October.

Although air-travel demand is upbeat in Latin America, the same cannot be said about the United States due to the Delta variant spread. In fact, many U.S. carriers including the likes of Southwest Airlines (LUV - Free Report) have warned that their September-quarter results will be hurt by the spread of this highly-contagious strain of COVID-19.