Cathay traffic shows strong January figures

SIA Group’s passenger capacity increased 16.5%

(PHOTO: Cathay Pacific)

AlsimThe Cathay Group, comprising Cathay Pacific and HK Express, carried over two million passengers during January, averaging more than 70,000 passengers per day. Cathay Pacific carried a total of 1,717,200 passengers in January 2024, an increase of 66.4% compared with January 2023. The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 56.7% year on year. Passenger load factor decreased by 4 percentage points to 82.8%, while available seat kilometres (ASKs) increased by 64.2% year on year.

The airline carried 114,790 tonnes of cargo in January 2024, an increase of 20.7% compared with January 2023. The month’s cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) increased 11.4% year on year. The cargo load factor decreased by 3.6 percentage points to 58.6%, while available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs) increased by 18.3% year on year.

Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau said: “Following the peak of the Christmas season, we observed a decline in leisure demand during January, as expected. However, business travel demand resumed after the Christmas holiday; in particular, our Chinese Mainland routes performed exceptionally well, with very encouraging load factors in the premium cabins. Both inbound and outbound traffic to the Philippines experienced strong demand, especially for Christmas return traffic to destinations such as Dubai, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Amsterdam. As a result, the Philippines route emerged as a star performer this month with a load factor of close to 90%, surpassing all other short-haul routes. As Lunar New Year fell in the first half of February, we began to witness a noticeable increase in holiday demand from the Chinese Mainland towards the latter part of January. This demand was for travel both to Hong Kong and beyond.

“Demand for air cargo traditionally softens in January after the year-end peak period and our tonnage was down 11% compared with December 2023. However, when compared with January 2023, tonnage was up by 21%. Demand started to improve from the second week of January and we observed an increase in tonnage across our entire network. Perishable shipments were the bright spot especially from the Southwest Pacific to Asia.

“On the travel side, we have seen solid demand during the Lunar New Year travel peak, with outbound travel from Hong Kong focused on 7 to 12 February, and inbound travel concentrated on 17 and 18 February. Business travel demand has also been picking up after the Lunar New Year period, particularly on long-haul routes.

“In terms of cargo, the strong demand continued through to the start of the Lunar New Year holiday, but has now begun to ease. Looking ahead to March, Cathay Cargo will be the host airline for IATA’s World Cargo Symposium 2024. This is the first time that Hong Kong will host this major annual IATA event, which is scheduled to take place from 12 to 14 March. We eagerly look forward to welcoming experts and leaders from across the air cargo and logistics industry to our home city.”

The Cathay Group has paid the latest dividend of about HK$243.8 million due on the preference shares held by the Hong Kong SAR Government on 14 February 2024. To date, the Cathay Group has disbursed more than HK$2.2 billion in preference share dividends to the Hong Kong SAR Government. The Cathay Group bought back 50% of the preference shares in December 2023 and intends to buy back the remaining preference shares by the end of July 2024, subject to market conditions and its business operations at the relevant time.

Singapore Airlines Operating Stats
In January 2024, the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group’s passenger capacity increased 16.5% from a year before, while passenger traffic grew 14.4%, lagging capacity growth partly due to the shift in the Lunar New Year to February 2024. Consequently, Group passenger load factor (PLF) came in at 85.3%, 1.6 percentage points lower year-on-year with SIA and Scoot posting monthly PLFs of 84.2% and 89.4% respectively. The two airlines carried a combined 3.2 million passengers during the month, 23.1% higher than a year before.

Cargo loads grew 19.7% year-on-year due to stronger e-commerce demand and a growth in shipments ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays. This outpaced the capacity injection of 13.8% from a year before. Consequently, load factors were 2.7 percentage points higher at 54.5%.

At the end of January 2024, the Group’s passenger network1 covered 121 destinations in 35 countries and territories. SIA served 76 destinations, while Scoot served 67 destinations. The cargo network1 comprised 126 destinations in 37 countries and territories.


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