Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a total of 102,122 tonnes of cargo and mail in August, a decrease of 36.7 per cent compared to the same month last year.
August’s revenue freight tonne kilometres fell 30.3 per cent year on year. The cargo and mail load factor increased 14.2 percentage points to 75.0 per cent, while capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres fell 43.5 per cent.
The two airlines carried a total of 35,773 passengers in August, a year-on-year decrease of 98.8 per cent. Last month’s revenue passenger kilometres fell 98.1 per cent compared to same month in 2019. The passenger load factor dropped by 60 percent points to 19.9 per cent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres, decreased by 92.2 per cent.
Cathay Pacific Group said in a statement that the combined traffic figures for August reflected the airlines’ continued substantial capacity reductions in response to significantly reduced demand as well as travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in place in Hong Kong and other markets amid the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is clear that we are facing a long and uncertain road to recovery. The entire aviation industry has been hit hard by COVID-19 and the environment will continue to be extremely challenging for many years,” said the group’s chief customer and commercial officer, Mr Ronald Lam.
On passenger services, Mr Lam noted that the two airlines operated just 7.8 per cent of their normal capacity – a marginal increase from 7.1 per cent in July. However, overall passenger volume was down month on month and the load factor dipped below 20 per cent.
“We did see stronger demand on certain routes, notably student traffic to the UK with flights recording load factors of up to 90 per cent. The lifting of the ban on transit flights departing from the Chinese mainland via Hong Kong in mid-August helped to generate reasonable demand towards the end of the month. We also launched a charter service from Shanghai to Tel Aviv,” Mr Lam added.
“Cargo remains the stronger performer in our business and we saw similar overall cargo tonnage and load factors in August as we did in July. There were greater movements of pharmaceutical products and live animal shipments across the network, while our time-sensitive product – Priority LIFT – was also in good demand.
“We continued to introduce additional cargo capacity where possible. Our two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft introduced in July with some of their passenger seats removed continue to be well received and have been predominantly used for long-haul shipments. Overall in August we operated 436 pairs of cargo-only passenger flights – a similar number to July – of which 23 had cargo loaded into the cabins,” Mr Lam added.