Cathay’s July traffic up but ‘significant’ impact seen for August
Figures released Cathay Pacific Group on Wednesday (21 August) showed an increase in the number of passengers but a decline in cargo. The airline, which has been under fire from Chinese aviation authorities and lost its top two executives, also warned that the airline could be severely impacted in its August results after demonstrators shut down Hong Kong International Airport for two consecutive days in August and because some Chinese companies told workers not to use the airline.
Newly appointed chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said: “Recent events in Hong Kong over the past two months did not substantially impact our passenger business in July; however, we anticipate a much more significant impact to our revenue in August and onward. Traffic into Hong Kong, both business and leisure, has weakened substantially and we’ve also now seen ex-Hong Kong traffic starting to soften, especially on our short-haul network including mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and Southeast Asia.”
Cathay Pacific and its Cathay Dragon unit carried a total of 3.27 million passengers last month – an increase of 4 percent compared to July 2018. However, passenger load factor decreased by 0.6 percentage points to 86.1 percent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), rose by 7.2 percent. In the first seven months of 2019, the number of passengers carried grew by 4.4 percent while capacity increased by 6.7 percent, as compared to the same period for 2018.
The two airlines carried 169,720 tonnes of cargo and mail in July, a drop of 8.2 percent compared to the same month last year. The cargo and mail load factor fell by 7.2 percentage points to 63.1 percent. Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was up by 0.8 percent while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) dropped by 9.4 percent. In the first seven months of 2019, the tonnage fell by 6.1 percent against a 1 percent increase in capacity and a 6.6 percent decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2018.