September 12, 2019: Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have released combined traffic figures for the month of August 2019. Both the airlines have carried 161,394 tonnes of cargo and mail last year, a drop of 14 percent compared to the same month in 2018. The traffic for the carrier was driven down due to the impact of recent airport disruptions at the carrier's Hong Kong hub and headwinds related to the trade war.

The cargo and mail load factor fell by 7.5 percentage points to 60.9 percent. Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 0.6 percent while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne-kilometres (RFTKs) dropped by 11.6 percent. In the first eight months of 2019, the tonnage fell by 7.1 percent against a 0.8 percent increase in capacity and a 7.2 percent decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2018.

The airlines carried a total of 2,906,954 passengers last month, a drop of 11.3 percent compared to August 2018. Passenger load factor decreased by 7.2 percentage points to 79.9 percent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), rose by 5.1 percent. In the first eight months of 2019, the number of passengers carried grew by 2.2 percent and capacity increased by 6.5 percent, as compared to the same period for 2018.

Cathay Pacific group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said, "August was an incredibly challenging month, both for Cathay Pacific and for Hong Kong. Overall tourist arrivals into the city were nearly half of what they usually are in what is normally a strong summer holiday month, and this has significantly affected the performance of our airlines. Our inbound Hong Kong traffic was down 38 percent while outbound was down 12 percent year-on-year, and we don't anticipate September being any less difficult."

"Given the current significant decline in forward bookings for the remainder of the year, we will make some short-term tactical measures such as capacity realignments. Specifically, we are reducing our capacity growth such that it will be slightly down year-on-year for the 2019 winter season (from end October 2019 to end March 2020) versus our original growth plan of more than 6 percent for the period."


2019v AUG 18AUG 2019v YTD18
RPK (000)

- Mainland China652,971-28.1%6,022,538-5.0%
- North East Asia1,376,135-11.8%11,226,8313.1%
- South East Asia1,414,548-8.0%11,916,7102.0%
- South Asia, Middle East & Africa806,866-2.5%6,998,9708.2%
- South West Pacific1,246,9643.2%10,569,3205.4%
- North America3,223,6211.0%25,216,2516.5%
- Europe2,779,9363.3%20,229,4599.4%
RPK Total (000)11,501,041-3.6%92,180,0795.3%
Passengers carried2,906,954-11.3%24,446,7462.2%
RFTK Total (000)925,497-11.6%7,355,254-7.2%
Cargo and mail carried (000Kg)161,394-14.0%1,310,266-7.1%
Number of flights6,877-3.6%55,0220.7%

He further added, "On the cargo side, our business continued to face headwinds. Tonnage further deteriorated month-on-month across all regions, driven in particular by slow demand over the holiday season in different parts of the world, the effects of tropical storms and disruptions at Hong Kong International Airport. Ongoing geopolitical tensions continued to affect overall market sentiment. Nevertheless, our outlook for September is slightly more positive and we expect to see the demand to improve, driven by project shipments and the restocking of inventory as we enter the traditionally high-demand season."

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