Cathay group cargo volume drops 2.9pc in Dec to 177,561 tonnes

HONG Kong's Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried 177,561 tonnes of cargo and mail in December month, a decrease of 2

17 January 2020 - 19:00

HONG Kong's Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried 177,561 tonnes of cargo and mail in December month, a decrease of 2.9 per cent compared to the same month last year.

The cargo and mail load factor declined by 1.3 percentage points to 66.4 per cent. Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 3.8 per cent while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) dropped by 5.7 per cent.

For 2019 as a whole, the tonnage fell by 6.1 per cent to 2.02 million tonnes against a 0.3 per cent reduction in capacity and a 6.7 per cent decrease in RFTKs as compared to 2018.

'Our overall volume in December was on par with November and we enjoyed good all-round support from and to all the regions in our network all the way through to the final week of the year,' said chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam.

'Our mainland China and Southwest Pacific routes were the outstanding performers, recording both month-on-month and year-on-year improvement in sales.'

He said that the focus on specialised cargo solutions continued to offer positives. 'We carried more mail and Fresh LIFT cargo, backed by strong demand for e-commerce and seasonal produce towards the end of the year. We also celebrated our first ever freighter flight to South America, carrying seasonal cherries from Chile back to Asia.'Mr Lam admitted that '2019 was an incredibly challenging year for both the Cathay Pacific Group and Hong Kong' and that, as previously reported, the group's overall second-half performance will be significantly below that of the first half.

There was also and 3.6 per cent year-on-year drop in December passenger volume to 2,994,830. Passenger load factor increased by 1.2 percentage points to 85.0 per cent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), decreased by 1.3 per cent.

For 2019, the number of passengers carried declined by 0.7 per cent to 35,233,131 against a 5.1 per cent increase in capacity as compared to 2018.

Mr Lam said: 'Demand for travel into Hong Kong continued to be weak in December with our inbound passenger traffic seeing a year-on-year decline of 46 per cent - unchanged from November. The sentiment for travel into Hong Kong was particularly weak on our regional routes such as mainland China, Taiwan and Japan.

'On the brighter side, our long-haul routes performed well with better load factors. Outbound traffic, meanwhile, was down 4 per cent - a further improvement over the previous few months, but still significantly below what we would expect for a peak holiday month.

'Given the overall weak performance of both our inbound and outbound traffic, we remained heavily focused and reliant upon lower-yield transit traffic via Hong Kong, which grew by 15 per cent compared to the same time in 2018.'

Looking ahead, Mr Lam said 'advance bookings for Chinese New Year appear promising with the boost in transit passengers; however, we continue to see a significant shortfall for the period after Chinese New Year, especially from inbound traffic.

'We anticipate 2020 will continue to present us with a highly challenging operating environment. We remain agile in our operations, ensuring our capacity is best aligned with demand.'


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