Virgin Blue’s strong run of domestic growth slowed to a mere 0.4% rise in passengers in May, but its year to date figures put it at 5.1% growth.

The comparable Qantas domestic figures and those of Jetstar are not expected to be filed with the ASX until late today or tomorrow.

The airline’s trans Pacific carrier V Australia’s traffic figures come with no annual comparisons since it only started services in February.

And while, unlike Qantas, Virgin Blue posts no guidance on yields, the overall expectation remains that a profitable domestic operation is being eclipsed by V Australia start up costs, and deep discounting on all international routes by all carriers is hurting both airlines wherever they fly.

International travel is at the moment a mutually destructive blood bath for carriers world wide. None of the major global airlines nor the two Australian flag carrier international routes are expected to generate profits in the second half of this calendar year, and most of the US and European longer haul airlines have already posted losses.

In May, Virgin Blue saw revenue passenger kilometres rise by 2.6% and capacity or available seat kilometres drop -3.8% as its measures to cut costs and conserve cash tightened, pushing the load factor in a cyclically low travel month to 77.7%.

In the 11 months to the end of May Virgin Blue is now sitting on 5.1% more passengers, 5.5% more passengers times kilometres, a growth of 5.4% in capacity (despite recent cut backs) and a nearly unchanged revenue load factor of 81.4%.

If the figures for the 10 months to the end of April are compared between Virgin Blue domestic and Qantas domestic, Virgin Blue had grown by 5.6% and Qantas full service had shrunk by –4.4%.

In the Qantas figures for this 10 month period, aggregating international and regional traffic as well as that for its Jetstar services, strong growth in its low cost brand was not enough to prevent an overall decline of –1.5%.

Everything gets tougher for all the Qantas and Virgin Blue brands this Friday, when Delta Airlines starts flying Sydney-Los Angeles, and Tiger Airways, the Singapore Airlines controlled Jetstar clone, enters the once golden Melbourne-Sydney domestic market.