The cargo and mail load factor fell by 3.7 percentage points to 65.5 per cent. Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was up by 0.1 per cent while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) dropped by 5.3 per cent.
In the first nine months of 2019, the tonnage fell by 6.8 per cent against a 0.7 per cent increase in capacity and a 7.0 per cent decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2018.
'As anticipated, our cargo business showed signs of improvement compared to August as we stepped into air freight's traditional high-demand season. Most markets saw a better month-on-month performance and we mounted a number of charter operations on top of our scheduled services to meet added demand for airfreight coinciding with the release of new electronic products. However, the overall market remains challenging and competitive with tonnage carried and load factor for the year to date still significantly below the same period last year,' said chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam.
There was also and 7.1 per cent year-on-year drop in September passenger volume to 2,426,961. Passenger load factor decreased by 7.2 percentage points to 73.6 per cent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), rose by 9.8 per cent.
In the first nine months of 2019, the number of passengers carried grew by 1.3 per cent and capacity increased by 6.9 per cent, as compared to the same period for 2018.
Said Mr Lam: 'September was another challenging month for our passenger business, with revenue adversely affected by weakened market sentiment, particularly for travel into Hong Kong.
'Passenger load factor was down 7.2 percentage points and inbound passenger traffic dropped by 38 per cent - both unchanged from August. Outbound traffic was down 9 per cent year-on-year, a slight improvement over the 12 per cent drop seen last month. Transit traffic via Hong Kong remained relatively stable.
'The mainland China market has been hit especially hard and we observed very weak demand for travel over the National Day holiday - traditionally a very strong period.'
Mr Lam said the group continued to see a significant shortfall in inbound bookings for the remainder of the year as compared to the same snapshot last year. 'This has been felt most strongly with bookings from mainland China and our other Asian markets.'