Cathay says April traffic showed strong demand

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Cathay Pacific
(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Aviation Festival AFA 728 x 90Cathay Pacific released its traffic figures for April 2024, which showed continued strong travel demand with both leisure and business travel stimulated by the various holiday periods and large-scale events that took place throughout the month around the region.

Cathay Pacific carried a total of 1,741,585 passengers in April 2024, an increase of 26.1% compared with April 2023. The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 27.8% year on year. Passenger load factor decreased by 5.4 percentage points to 81.6%, while available seat kilometres (ASKs) increased by 36.2% year on year. In the first four months of 2024, the number of passengers carried increased by 47.3% to a total of 7,143,363, against a 50.9% increase in ASKs and a 42.3% increase in RPKs, as compared with the same period for 2023.

The airline carried 117,428 tonnes of cargo in April 2024, an increase of 7.4% compared with April 2023. The month’s cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) decreased 0.4% year on year. The cargo load factor decreased by 4.2 percentage points to 59.5%, while available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs) increased by 6.6% year on year. In the first four months of 2024, the tonnage increased by 10.1% to a total of 473,808 tonnes, against a 12.9% increase in AFTKs and a 4.5% increase in RFTKs, as compared with the same period for 2023.

Lavinia Lau.

Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau said: “April was another good month for our travel business with multiple holiday periods and large-scale events stimulating business and leisure travel. At the start of April, we saw an increase in both inbound and outbound traffic as people travelled to and from Hong Kong for Easter and the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. Shortly thereafter, festive periods in Indonesia and Thailand contributed to a rise in traffic from Southeast Asia to Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland, Japan and other regional destinations. Then, towards the end of April, we saw strong pre-holiday demand from the Chinese Mainland and leisure traffic from Japan coinciding with the respective ‘Golden Week’ holidays in these two markets.

“In addition to leisure travel, April also saw healthy demand for business travel. The Canton Fair in Guangzhou was a notable driver, in particular for business travel from the United States. Our intermodal codeshare ferry services linking Hong Kong International Airport and Pazhou Ferry Terminal in Guangzhou provided convenient access to the exhibition centre, and proved to be popular with overseas customers who transited via Hong Kong,” Lau said.

Cargo
“In terms of cargo, tonnage was 13% lower in April than in March. The decrease was expected given the strong quarter-end demand in March and the holidays that fell in the first half of April. However, compared with April last year, tonnage was 7% higher. After the holidays, we observed an uptick in demand with a key driver being e-commerce shipments from Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland,” Lau said.

Outlook
“This month, the Individual Visit Scheme will be further expanded to include eight more cities in the Chinese Mainland, enabling residents in these cities to visit Hong Kong in their individual capacity. This is a welcomed development that will attract more visitors to Hong Kong, strengthen Hong Kong’s tourism sector and contribute to its continued growth and development. We look forward to providing premium services for more customers from the Chinese Mainland. As a Group, we will be operating up to 210 return flights per week between Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland this summer season,” Lau said.

“Over the coming months, the Cathay Group will continue to add more destinations and flights to our network. These include Cathay Pacific’s Barcelona service, which will resume next month, and HK Express’s Sanya and Clark services in May and June, respectively. In terms of travel demand, students returning to Hong Kong for the summer will provide a good boost in June and July, while the outlook for the summer peak is also looking promising. For cargo, we foresee steady growth in tonnage going forward, particularly on cargo lanes between Asia and North America over the coming months.”

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