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Cathay finds cargo only bright spot in otherwise grim month of May

HONG KONG's Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon declared that its cargo business continued to be the highlight in May as more cargo-only passenger flights were put into service during the Covid-19 crisis

15 June 2020 - 19:06

HONG KONG's Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon declared that its cargo business continued to be the highlight in May as more cargo-only passenger flights were put into service during the Covid-19 crisis.

The two airlines carried 98,710 tonnes of cargo and mail last month, a decrease of 41.3 per cent compared to May 2019. The month's revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) fell 29.1 per cent year on year.



'Cargo performance remained strong and we carried approximately 17 per cent more tonnage in May compared to April, though this still represented a significant year-on-year drop,' said Cathay chief commercial officer Ronald Lam.



'We improved the utilisation of our freighter aircraft, which have been flying around the clock, and chartered more flights from our all-cargo subsidiary, Air Hong Kong, to serve regional demand,' he said.



'Additionally, we mounted close to 900 pairs of cargo-only passenger flights in May, primarily serving long-haul destinations in North America, Europe and Australia. We have also been optimising much-need air freight capacity by loading select cargo in the passenger cabins of our Boeing 777-300ER aircraft where possible,' Mr Lam said.



May's Cathay traffic figures reflected the airlines' substantial 97 per cent capacity reductions in response to significantly reduced demand as well as travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in Hong Kong and other markets.



Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a total of 18,473 passengers last month, a decrease of 99.4 per cent compared to May 2019. The month's revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) fell 99.1 per cent year on year. Passenger load factor plummeted by 53.3 percentage points to 29.6 per cent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs) and decreased by 97.5 per cent.



The cargo and mail load factor increased by 9.1 percentage points to 73 per cent, while capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down 37.9 per cent.



In the first five months of 2020, the tonnage fell by 29.7 per cent against a 27.9 per cent drop in capacity and a 22.3 per cent decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2019.


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