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Cathay warns of higher H2 loss with Nov traffic showing no improvements

HONG Kong's flag carrier Cathay Pacific said it expects a 'significantly higher' second-half loss than its record H1 loss as a result of low demand, restructuring charges and impairments on its fleet of planes

17 December 2020 - 19:00
HONG Kong's flag carrier Cathay Pacific said it expects a 'significantly higher' second-half loss than its record H1 loss as a result of low demand, restructuring charges and impairments on its fleet of planes.

Cathay Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said: 'We are still not seeing any meaningful improvement in our passenger business. On average, we carried just 1,261 passengers per day and load factor remained low at 18.5 per cent - both marginal increases over October.



'Looking ahead on the passenger front, we still are not seeing significant demand for travel as we head towards the end of 2020 - traditionally a strong travel season in the year. Demand continues to weaken on long-haul routes and we anticipate we will rely more on traffic on regional services in the immediate future. Given the slow speed of recovery, we expect to operate about 9 per cent of pre-Covid-19 capacity in December and slightly above 10 per cent in January 2021.'



Mr Lam was more optimistic about the airline's cargo performance pointing out that demand further strengthened in November mainly due to strong-ecommerce traffic. There was also solid movement of electronic products, perishables and automotive shipments across our network.



'We also continue to work on customised solutions for our business partners and notably we have commenced a series of chartered freighter flights serving Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.



'We have been utilising our freighter resources to their fullest while also mounting 728 pairs of cargo only passenger flights. This was 152 pairs - or 26 per cent - more than we operated in October, and 30 of these carried cargo in the passenger cabins. Meanwhile, load factor remained high at 77.7 per cent.'



Mr Lam further announced that the airline will soon launch a seasonal cargo service into Hobart in Australia beginning mid-December to support exports of fresh produce from Tasmania into different parts of Asia.



'In terms of specialised products, the airline, along with our cargo terminal and ground-handling subsidiaries, have been re-certified with IATA's CEIV Pharma accreditation, and we are actively preparing ourselves to meet the challenge of shipping temperature- and-time-sensitive vaccines across our network when the time arises.'


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