Cathay says traffic strong over holiday; Singapore Airlines says growth continuing on all routes


SeoulCathay Pacific released its traffic figures for April 2023, which reflected strong demand for travel during the holiday period. Travel sentiment has remained positive since the beginning of the year and as a result, the Cathay Pacific Group, comprising passenger airlines Cathay Pacific and HK Express, carried almost six million passengers during the first four months of the year.

Cathay Pacific carried a total of 1,381,073 passengers last month, an increase of 3,283% compared with April 2022. The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 3,139% year-on-year. Passenger load factor increased by 31.3 percentage points to 86.9%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 1,973% year-on-year. In the first four months of 2023, the number of passengers carried increased by 3,707% against a 2,116% increase in capacity and a 3,989% increase in RPKs, as compared with the same period for 2022.

The airline carried 109,372 tonnes of cargo last month, an increase of 18.4% compared with April 2022, when our cargo capacity was significantly reduced due to stricter aircrew quarantine measures. The month’s cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) increased 93.3% year-on-year. The cargo load factor decreased by 16.6 percentage points to 63.6%, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), increased by 143.7% year-on-year. In the first four months of 2023, the tonnage increased by 30.8% against a 168.4% increase in capacity and a 118.1% increase in RFTKs, as compared with the same period for 2022.

Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau said: “April was a busy month for our travel business as many of our customers looked to enjoy a getaway during the holiday period. Passenger demand was especially strong over the Easter holiday in the early part of the month, and on 9 April, we recorded our highest number of passengers on a single day since the start of the pandemic, carrying 53,233 in total. Meanwhile, we continued to increase our passenger flight capacity and add more frequencies to destinations in Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and Japan. Demand for premium class seats has also been positive, driven by both corporate and leisure travel. We experienced a surge in demand from Indonesia in mid-April, coinciding with the end of Ramadan, and we added more flights from Jakarta and Surabaya for our customers accordingly. Towards the end of April, we also saw increased traffic ahead of Labour Day and the Golden Week holiday from the Chinese Mainland.

“On the other hand, demand for our cargo business was impacted by the holiday period in April. As a result, overall tonnage in April was down 10% month on month with a total of 109,372 tonnes carried, while capacity decreased 5% compared with March as we optimised schedules. One area that continues to show positive momentum was e-commerce demand from Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland across our network, which remained strong,” Lau said. “As we look ahead to the rest of May and beyond, we continue our efforts to reconnect our customers and our home hub with the world. We are progressively increasing our passenger flight capacity as we approach the peak summer travel season. In terms of destinations, we look forward to resuming our Johannesburg service from 1 August with three return flights per week, once again connecting our home city with Africa. On top of that, from 3 October we will be resuming our Chicago service with three return flights per week, bringing our total number of destinations in North America to seven and further expanding our connectivity with the region…In terms of cargo, while short-term demand has been affected by the Labour Day and Golden Week holidays at the beginning of May, we expect it to improve over the subsequent weeks. We are continuing to adjust our freighter network to reflect any significant changes in trade flows and business opportunities. As the belly capacity from our passenger operations grows, we are able to offer more choices to our customers and we continue to see good demand momentum with our specialist cargo solutions across the expanding network.”

Singapore Airlines continues to see strong growth
In April 2023, the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group continued to see strong passenger traffic and load factors across all route regions. This was supported by the robust leisure demand during the Easter holiday. East Asia continued to see healthy growth in demand to China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Group passenger capacity was up 36.7% year-on-year. SIA and Scoot carried a combined 2.7 million passengers in April 2023 (+85.5% year-on-year). Group passenger load factor (PLF) was 88.3% (+15.6 percentage points year-on-year). SIA’s PLF was 87.5%, while Scoot’s PLF was 90.8%.

The cargo load factor of 50.7% was 16.0 percentage points lower year-on-year. Cargo loads declined by 11.2% year-on-year due to weaker demand, while capacity expanded by 16.8% as increased passenger services resulted in higher bellyhold capacity.

During the month, Scoot resumed services to Haikou, Ningbo, and Xi’an. At the end of April 2023, the Group’s passenger network1 covered 112 destinations in 36 countries and territories. SIA served 74 destinations, while Scoot served 61 destinations. The cargo network comprised 118 destinations in 38 countries and territories.

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