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AVIATION | Tony Chua, Hong Kong
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Cathay Pacific and Dragonair combined May passenger volume up 1.1%

Yet cargo load down 12.9% to 138,095 tonnes behind the weakness on Japan, Shanghai and Middle Eastern routes .

Cathay Pacific Airways on Friday released combined Cathay Pacific and Dragonair traffic figures for May 2011 that show a slight year-on-year rise in passenger numbers alongside a drop in the passenger load factor, and a decrease in the amount of cargo and mail carried.

Cathay Pacific and Dragonair carried a total of 2,208,385 passengers last month – up 1.1% on the same month last year – while the passenger load factor was down 3 percentage points to 78.3%. Capacity for the month, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), was up by 9.1%. For the year to date, the number of passengers carried is up by 1.6% compared to a capacity rise of 9.9%.

The two airlines carried 138,095 tonnes of cargo and mail last month, a 12.9% decrease compared to the same month last year, while the cargo and mail load factor was down 10.9 percentage points to 68.2%. Capacity, measured in available cargo/mail tonne kilometres, was up by 6.1%, while cargo and mail tonne kilometres flown were down by 8.6%. For the year so far, tonnage has dropped by 3.1% compared to a capacity increase of 16.4%, according to a Cathay Pacific report.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management Tom Owen said: "Although economy class load factors fell with the significant ASK growth, our quality of revenue grew which, combined with a robust premium performance and positive currency effect, saw the total revenue efficiency improve over May 2010. The weakness on Japan, Shanghai and Middle Eastern routes in particular continued to affect performance, but this was offset by stronger North American, UK and Southeast Asian revenue results.” 

Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing James Woodrow said: “In May the market remained quiet and well below the strong May 2010 result when restocking of inventories remained in full swing. Europe was particularly weak and Cathay Pacific reduced Europe capacity to better match the lower level of demand.” 

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