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Thu, 18 August 2022

Cathay Pacific Reports July's Cargo and Passenger Traffic

(18 August 2022, 11:13 +07)  Cathay Pacific carried 219,746 passengers in July 2022, an increase of 306.2% compared to July 2021, though a 93.3% decrease when compared to the pre-pandemic level in July 2019.

The months revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 348.4% year-on-year, down 89.4% on July 2019.

Passenger load factor increased by 44.7 percentage points to 73.3%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 74.6% year-on-year, a decrease of 87.6% compared with July 2019.

In the first seven months of 2022, the number of passengers carried increased by 162.8% against a 6.3% decrease in capacity and a 189.8% increase in RPKs, as compared to the same period for 2021.

Cathay Pacific A330 reg: B-LBK. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.
Cathay Pacific A330 reg: B-LBK. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com

We continued to add more passenger flight capacity in July in light of the Hong Kong SAR Governments progressive adjustments to travel and quarantine restrictions. Capacity increased by 24% compared to June, although it remained low at 12.4% of the pre-pandemic level. Passenger volume increased to an average of over 7,000 per day. Meanwhile, passenger load factor reached 73.3% the highest its been since the start of the pandemic, said Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, Ronald Lam. The additional capacity we were able to operate provided enhanced connectivity options for our customers transiting through the Hong Kong hub, with demand from the Chinese Mainland to Australia and the US particularly robust. We also saw strong demand on our UK routes, especially from students returning to Hong Kong. As many of these flights were full, some of this student traffic shifted to our other European gateways such as Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Meanwhile, we were able to resume carrying passengers to Fuzhou, Nanjing and Wuhan in the Chinese Mainland again following adjustments to local capacity restrictions.

The airline carried 100,714 tonnes of cargo last month, a decrease of 17.2% compared to July 2021, and a 40.7% decrease compared with the same period in 2019.

The months cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) decreased 27.5% year-on-year, down 42.6% compared to July 2019.

The cargo load factor decreased by 10.8 percentage points to 71%, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 16.4% year-on-year, a fall of 48.9% on July 2019.

In the first seven months of 2022, the tonnage decreased by 6.6% against a 28.3% drop in capacity and a 34.2% decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2021.

Cargo demand remained flat in many of our key markets in July as we entered the traditionally quieter summer months for air cargo. Tonnage decreased month on month across most markets, reflecting reduced cargo flight capacity due to weather related cancellations as well as ongoing operational restrictions which impacted the July schedule. The major impact of these challenges was seen on our Indian and the Americas routes, whilst capacity on our European routes grew marginally, said Mr Lam. Overall, our cargo volumes dipped by about 4% month-on-month against an approximately 7% decrease in capacity. We operated 51% of our pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity last month. Meanwhile, load factor was 71%.

Looking Ahead

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, Mr 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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