SIA Group sees strong performance in July; Cathay says traffic up, but still below pre-pandemic levels

(PHOTO: Singapore Airlines)

The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group’s strong operating performance in the first quarter of FY2022/23 continued into July 2022. Demand for air travel remained robust during the peak summer season across every route region except East Asia, where travel restrictions remain in place in some key markets.

The group carried more than 2 million passengers in July 2022, up 7.5 percent from the previous month. This was the first time that passenger carriage has crossed the 2 million-mark since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Group passenger capacity (measured in available seat-kilometres) in July 2022 was 4.9 percent higher than the month before, and 107.8 percent higher compared to a year ago. Group capacity reached 67 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels during the month. 

The group passenger load factor (PLF) reached a new pandemic-high of 87.4 percent (+1.9 percentage points month-on-month and +71.1 percentage points year-on-year). This is the second highest monthly PLF in the SIA Group’s history.

Cargo operations registered a load factor of 60.5 percent, or 26.7 percentage points lower year-on-year. Loads (freight tonne-kilometres) declined by 4 percent year-on-year, while capacity (capacity tonne-kilometres) expanded by 38.3 percent as increased passenger services resulted in higher bellyhold capacity.

During the month, SIA resumed services to Shenzhen, China. At the end of July 2022, the group’s passenger network covered 99 destinations. SIA served 73 destinations, while Scoot served 47 destinations as of end-July 2022.

Cathay says July traffic rose, but still below pre-pandemic levels

Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific has seen its business plumment due to the city’s COVID measures. (PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

Cathay Pacific released its traffic figures for July 2022, saying figures continued to reflect the positive impact of further adjustments to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Cathay Pacific carried a total of 219,746 passengers last month, an increase of 306.2 percent compared to July 2021, but a 93.3 percent decrease compared to the pre-pandemic level in July 2019. The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 348.4 percent year-on-year, but were down 89.4 percent versus July 2019. Passenger load factor increased by 44.7 percentage points to 73.3 percent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 74.6 percent year-on-year, but decreased by 87.6 percent compared with July 2019 levels. In the first seven months of 2022, the number of passengers carried increased by 162.8 percent against a 6.3 percent decrease in capacity and a 189.8 percent increase in RPKs, as compared to the same period for 2021.

The airline carried 100,714 tonnes of cargo last month, a decrease of 17.2 percent compared to July 2021, and a 40.7 percent decrease compared with the same period in 2019. The month’s cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) decreased 27.5 percent year-on-year, and were down 42.6 percent compared to July 2019. The cargo load factor decreased by 10.8 percentage points to 71 percent, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 16.4 percent year-on-year, and was down by 48.9 percent versus July 2019. In the first seven months of 2022, the tonnage decreased by 6.6 percent against a 28.3 percent drop in capacity and a 34.2 percent decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2021.

Cathay Pacific Group Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam. (PHOTO: Cathay Pacific)

Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said: “We continued to add more passenger flight capacity in July in light of the Hong Kong SAR Government’s progressive adjustments to travel and quarantine restrictions. Capacity increased by 24 percent  compared to June, although it remained low at 12.4 percent of the pre-pandemic level. Passenger volume increased to an average of over 7,000 per day. Meanwhile, passenger load factor reached 73.3 percent – the highest it’s been since the start of the pandemic.

”Looking ahead on the travel side, the latest adjustments to quarantine arrangements for passengers arriving in Hong Kong are expected to have a positive impact on inbound traffic as well as leisure travel among Hong Kong residents. Student traffic to the US and UK is also expected to provide our travel business with a strong boost in August and September. However, our ability to add more passenger flight capacity will remain limited unless the restrictions on our aircrew are lifted,” Lam said. ”Regarding cargo, we expect to operate a full freighter schedule in August and going forward, complemented by regional cargo-only passenger flights and more belly capacity provided by our additional passenger services. However, long-haul cargo-only passenger flights will be limited. The situation involving cross-border trucking services between Shenzhen and Hong Kong remains uncertain, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely and adapt accordingly. We are cautiously optimistic about a solid seasonal winter peak season, although this is anticipated to be less pronounced than the one we experienced in 2021 in light of the current global economic environment.” 

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