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Cathay warns of 'challenging and uncertain' times ahead amid ongoing HK protests

CATHAY Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam has warned that second-half results will be 'significantly below' the first six months of the year and that the short-term outlook remained 'challenging and uncertain'

Cathay warns of 'challenging and uncertain' times ahead amid ongoing HK protests

CATHAY Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam has warned that second-half results will be 'significantly below' the first six months of the year and that the short-term outlook remained 'challenging and uncertain'

14 November 2019 - 19:00

CATHAY Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam has warned that second-half results will be 'significantly below' the first six months of the year and that the short-term outlook remained 'challenging and uncertain'.

Despite the gloomy short-term outlook, Cathay Pacific stressed that it was strongly committed to invest in the long-term development of Hong Kong and of the airline itself.



The combined Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon traffic figures for October showed that cargo volume declined 4.9 per cent year on year to 183,119 tonnes.



The cargo and mail load factor fell by 2.4 percentage points to 68.0 per cent. Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down 2.5 per cent while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) dropped by 5.9 per cent.



In the first ten months of 2019, the tonnage fell by 6.6 per cent against a 0.7 per cent increase in capacity and a 0.4 per cent increase in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2018.



Commenting on the October's cargo statistics, Mr Lam said: 'Cargo volume continued to improve as the market entered into its peak season of the year, with demand picking up after the National Day holidays in October. This began with an uptick in raw materials and machinery parts into mainland China, followed by encouraging exports from mainland China and Hong Kong, especially into trans-Pacific and European markets.



'Month-on-month tonnage growth was recorded across all sales territories. We anticipate this positive momentum continuing through mid-December. However, overall cargo yield remained significantly below that of the same time last year.'



There was also a 7.1 per cent year-on-year drop in October passenger volume to 2,740,830. Passenger load factor decreased by 4.0 percentage points to 77.6 per cent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), rose by 2.4 per cent.



In the first ten months of 2019, the number of passengers carried grew by 0.5 per cent and capacity increased by 6.4 per cent, as compared to the same period for 2018.



'In October, demand for travel into Hong Kong remained weak with our inbound passenger traffic seeing a year-on-year decline of 35 per cent, consistent with the trend seen in both August and September,' Mr Lam said.



'The drop in outbound Hong Kong traffic was 13 per cent in October, again similar to the trend over the past two months. Apart from reduced traffic volume and load factor, overall passenger yield also continued to be under significant pressure.



'Overall we foresee a challenging remainder of 2019 for our airlines. We expect our second-half financial results will be significantly below those of our first-half. The short-term outlook remains challenging and uncertain.'


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