Cathay flew 98.6pc fewer passengers and 37.6pc less cargo in October

HONG Kong's Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a total of 114,346 tonnes of cargo and mail in August, a decrease of 37

15 November 2020 - 19:00

HONG Kong's Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a total of 114,346 tonnes of cargo and mail in August, a decrease of 37.6 per cent compared to the same month last year.

October's revenue freight tonne kilometres fell 30.2 per cent year on year. The cargo and mail load factor increased 10.4 percentage points to 78.3 per cent, while capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres fell 39.4 per cent.

The two airlines carried a total of 38,541 passengers in October, a year-on-year decrease of 98.6 per cent. Last month's revenue passenger kilometres fell 98 per cent compared to same month in 2019. The passenger load factor dropped by 59.3 percent points to 18.2 per cent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres, decreased by 91.6 per cent.

Cathay Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer, Ronald Lam, said: 'For the first time since May, we saw a month-on-month drop in capacity following an already very difficult summer. We operated just 8.4 per cent of planned capacity in October compared to about 9 per cent in September.

'As anticipated, much of the demand for student travel that we had been relying on throughout the summer season tapered off in early October. Additionally, demand for UK and Continental Europe flights dropped rapidly amid a resurgence of COVID-19 in many European countries.'

Commenting on October's cargo performance, Mr Lam said: 'As has been the case for most of this year, our cargo business continues to be the better performer. Following the National Day Holidays at the beginning of October, demand from our home market, Hong Kong, and the Chinese mainland rebounded quickly, driven by new electronic products. Return traffic from the Americas and Europe also improved month on month, whilst Intra-Asia traffic was buoyant with solid perishable goods movements and some signs of a recovery in auto-parts traffic.

'To cater to this demand, our freighter fleet continued to operate at full capacity, supplemented by 576 pairs of cargo-only passenger flights - about 10 per cent more than we operated in September. Despite this additional capacity, the average load factor reached its highest point so far in 2020 at 78.3 per cent.'

Looking ahead, Mr Lam welcomed the news of the introduction of the all-purpose, two-way, quarantine-free Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble from November 22. 'This is a hugely encouraging development and an important first step in the return of regular international air travel to and from Hong Kong.'

Apart from the news of the travel bubble flights, Mr Lam the pickup in passenger demand in November has remained sluggish with stricter quarantine requirements in place in Hong Kong.

'We remain in a very dynamic situation and overall recovery is anticipated to be slow. As we have previously announced, we expect to operate well under 25 per cent of 2019 passenger capacity in the first half of 2021 and below 50 per cent for the entire year.'

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