HONG Kong's Cathay Pacific has posted a 21 per cent decrease in September's cargo tonnage compared to same month last year when cargo volume reached "an exceptional high level"
Cathay Pacific's chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam pointed out that the carrier "had reduced cargo flight capacity in expectation of this and operated fewer cargo-only passenger services on long-haul routes."
He said overall last month, cargo flight capacity was approximately 61 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
"However, the fall in demand compared with last year was greater than predicted, largely due to weaker consumer demand and reduced manufacturing activities in the Chinese Mainland."
The airline carried 104,055 tonnes of cargo in September, a decrease of 20.6 per cent compared to September2021, and a 39.7 per cent decrease compared with the same period in 2019.
The month's cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) decreased 28.3 per cent year on year, and were down 38.6 per cent compared to July 2019. The cargo load factor decreased by 13.3 percentage points to 66.4 per cent, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 14 per cent year on year, was down by 39.4 per cent versus July 2019.
In the first nine months of 2022, the tonnage decreased by 9.8 per cent against a 28.3 per cent decrease in capacity and a 31.8 per cent decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2021.
Looking ahead, Mr Lam said: "Regarding cargo, as we resume more passenger flights, the additional cargo capacity provided by the bellies of our passenger aircraft will complement our full freighter schedule, enabling us to offer extended routings and more consistent services to our cargo customers.
"Demand from the Chinese Mainland softened over the National Day holidays, but is expected to firm up again in the latter part of the month. We remain positive that there will be solid demand over the traditional cargo peak period, and while it will not reach the levels achieved last year, we expect it to still be above historical averages."
Cathay Pacific carried a total of 265,845 passengers last month, an increase of 101.7 per cent compared to September 2021, but an 89 per cent decrease compared to the pre-pandemic level in September 2019.
"Cathay Pacific's travel business continued to show improvement in September, helped by student traffic from both Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland. Overall passenger numbers further increased month-on-month to over 8,800 per day, while load factor was 72.5 per cent. Passenger flight capacity stood at about 16 per cent of pre-pandemic levels," Mr Lam said.
The airline said in statement that it plans to add 700 flights in November and 1,200 flights in December, as passengers figure improved following the lifting of mandatory hotel quarantine for airport arrivals last month. This will add more than half a million seats for passengers to choose from.
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