Travel Industry News at TravelNewsAsia.com since 1997
Thu, 15 December 2022

Cathay Pacific Reports November Traffic; Begins First Class Rollout with LHR Flights

(15/12/22)  Cathay Pacific carried 526,827 passengers in November, an increase of 652.1% compared with November 2021, but a 79.9% decrease compared with November 2019.

The months revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 565.5% year-on-year, down 73.7% versus November 2019.

Passenger load factor increased by 51.7 percentage points to 78.5%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 127.2% year-on-year, a decrease of 73.1% compared with November 2019.

In the first 11 months of 2022, the number of passengers carried increased by 220.5% against a 33.9% increase in capacity and a 211.9% increase in RPKs, as compared with the same period for 2021.

Cathay Pacific's new First Class cabin is now available on CX251/CX252. Click to enlarge.
Cathay Pacific's new First Class cabin is now available on CX251/CX252

We continue to see positive signs for our travel business. Sentiment and demand for travel out of Hong Kong continued to improve in November. We also saw increased visiting friends and relatives (VFR) traffic into Hong Kong, particularly from long-haul origins such as North America, Europe and the South West Pacific. Transit traffic via the Hong Kong hub also improved as we grow our network of destinations, said Ronald Lam, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer. On average, we carried about 17,600 passengers a day in November, up from around 13,000 in October. Passenger flight capacity increased about 16% versus the previous month. Overall, we operated 27% of pre-pandemic capacity levels in November. We continued to add more flights to more destinations last month, in particular to and from popular places in Japan as well as Southeast Asia, which saw huge demand from Hong Kong. As expected, Japan was our top destination in terms of passenger numbers while load factor on these flights stayed high at 86%. November also saw the resumption of passenger flights to Denpasar (Bali), Tokyo (Haneda) and Zurich.

Cathay Pacific Cargo

The airline carried 103,092 tonnes of cargo last month, a decrease of 23.8% compared with November 2021, and a 42.1% decrease compared with the same month in 2019.

The months cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) decreased 27.8% year-on-year, down 38% compared with November 2019.

Cargo load factor decreased by 15.6 percentage points to 66.9%, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), decreased by 11% year-on-year, down by 36.4% versus November 2019.

In the first 11 months of 2022, the tonnage decreased by 12.6% against a 20.7% decrease in capacity and a 30.6% decrease in RFTKs, as compared with the same period for 2021.

On the cargo side, demand remained flat in November compared with the previous month despite it being the start of the traditional peak cargo period. We carried 103,092 tonnes of cargo last month, approximately 6% less than in October, while cargo flight capacity was down about 2% in November compared with the previous month. Overall, we operated about 64% of pre-pandemic capacity levels, Mr. Lam said. Production activities in the Chinese Mainland and trade flows remained constrained. While we did witness a mild uptick in e-commerce movements into the Americas around the Black Friday shopping period, a similar surge on regional lanes was more short-lived. Conversely, movements of perishable goods from South America as well as Australia and New Zealand were relatively active. As such, we operated five non-scheduled services from Darwin, Australia carrying fresh seasonal produce into North Asia to capitalise on this activity. Building on the experience gained over the past few years and the evolving needs of the pharmaceutical industry, last month we refreshed our pharmaceuticals solution under a new name, Cathay Pharma. This has seen us enhance our customer proposition, making it easier for customers to identify all of the possible options for pharmaceutical shipments in a more streamlined way.

Looking Ahead

The Hong Kong government removed the Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass for inbound persons entering Hong Kong this week.

As we approach the festive Christmas and New Year holiday period, travel demand continues to improve. We are further increasing our passenger flight capacity and resuming more destinations, including Sapporo, Fukuoka, Penang and Dhaka in December, as well as Phuket and Nagoya in January next year. We expect that short-haul routes to leisure destinations such as Japan and Southeast Asia will remain strong, continuing on into the Chinese New Year holiday peak as well, added Mr. Lam. We are also extremely excited for our customers to be able to experience our elevated, premium First class service again, which is now available on our prime London Heathrow flight, CX251/CX252. First class will be coming to our Paris flight, CX261/CX260, from 18 January 2023 and our Tokyo (Haneda) flight, CX548/CX549, from 1 February. Customers departing Haneda Airport can also enjoy our signature Cathay Pacific Lounge, which reopened earlier this month. Regarding cargo, our expanding passenger travel network will provide our cargo customers with more destinations and greater frequencies to choose from as well. However, we expect headwinds in the air cargo market to continue in the short term until supply chains in the Chinese Mainland become more stable and inventory levels in key consumer markets reduce.

Cathay Pacific's New First Class

Cathay Pacific has partnered with Bamford to provide First Class passengers with 600-thread count sustainably sourced cotton bedlinen, mens and womens natural skincare products, and amenity kits.

Customers can select their choice of pillow from the pillow menu and, when they are ready for their turndown service, cabin crew will transform their space into one of the softest beds in the sky.

First Class passengers can dine at their preferred time choosing from a wide variety of dishes that include not just hearty favourites, but more nutritious wellness options and authentic Hong Kong dishes.

The airline has sourced some of the best ingredients from producers that support sustainable and ethical practices, including pork from Dingley Dell Farm, certified sustainable Nordic Skrei cod, organic free-range eggs from Sunny Queen Farms in Australia, and more.

Customers flying First Class from Hong Kong before 31 December will also be able to enjoy Cathay Pacific's special Christmas-themed menus.

The First Class dining service is complemented by contemporary tableware, including chinaware from Noritake, cutlery from Robert Welch and restaurant-range wine glasses from Riedel.

To celebrate the return of its First Class service, Cathay Pacific is introducing a celebratory limited edition Krug 2004 Vintage Champagne from the House of Krug as well as a special celebratory edition of Blanc de Lynch-Bages 2018 and Chteau Lynch-Bages 2000. Available in First Class on flights to and from London in December, this special offering celebrates the airlines long-standing partnership with House of Krug and Chteau Lynch-Bages, with whom it has partnered since 1986 and 1989, respectively.

First Class will return to Cathay Pacifics Paris flight CX261/CX260 on 18 January 2023, followed by Tokyo (Haneda) flights CX548/CX549 from 1 February 2023.

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