Airline Carpatair, one of the top three players on the domestic market, carried 131,000 passengers in the first three months of the year, up 5 percent compared with the budgeted increase for 2008.
"In the first quarter of the year, we saw 17 percent traffic increase compared with the same interval last year," said Paula Ardelean, sales vice-chairman of Carpatair. The company’s target for this year is to exceed 630,000 passengers, from 563,000 in 2007.
Carpatair’s turnover amounted to 18 million euros in the first quarter of the year. "Revenues derived from passenger transportation went up by 6 percent against the first three months of 2007," added Ardelean. The airline, whose hub is in Timisoara (western Romania), estimates an around 15 percent turnover increase in euros for this year, to 92 million euros. This makes Carpatair the second private airline operator on the market to approach the 100 million-euro mark.
This year, another Romanian-held company, operating on the low cost segment, Blue Air, is expected to exceed 100 million euros in turnover, with 1,200,000 passengers. The largest operator on the market, TAROM, forecasts 276 million-euro turnover this year, and 2.3 million passengers.
The regular airlines market reached around 372 million euros last year, with the 2008 growth rate expected to halve and reach around 10 percent, according to the International Air Transport Association. The other leading regular airline operators on the local market, besides of Carpatair, are TAROM, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, Malev, Czech Airlines and British Airways.
The three-month revenues do not include flights introduced by Carpatair for the summer season.
Carpatair extended the range of domestic flights it operates the end of March. These newlyintroduced return flights, from Timisoara to Bacau, Cluj, Sibiu, Oradea and Satu Mare, Carpatair will double the number of domestic flights. Until now, the company operated domestic flights from Timisoara only to Bucharest, Constanta, Craiova, Suceava and Iasi.