AVIATION | Tony Chua, Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific and Dragonair July passengers up 1.6% to 2.52mn

Yet the two airlines cargo and mail load dropped 11% to 140,050 tonnes.

Cathay Pacific Airways on Tuesday released combined Cathay Pacific and Dragonair traffic figures for July 2011 showing a year-on-year increase in passenger numbers alongside a rise in capacity. Cargo and mail tonnage showed a decline compared to the same month in 2010.

Cathay Pacific and Dragonair carried a total of 2,524,206 passengers last month – up 1.6% on the same month last year – while the passenger load factor fell by 1.4 percentage points to 86.1%. Capacity for the month, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), was up by 7.0%. For the year to date, the number of passengers carried increased by 1.7% while capacity was up by 9.4%.

The two airlines carried 140,050 tonnes of cargo and mail in July, an 11.0% decrease compared to the same month last year, while the cargo and mail load factor was down 9.4 percentage points to 66.6%. Capacity, measured in available cargo/mail tonne kilometres, was up by 4.2%, while cargo and mail tonne kilometres flown were down by 8.6%. For the year to date, tonnage has dropped by 5.2% compared to a capacity increase of 12.9%, according to a Cathay Pacific report.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management James Tong said: "Passenger traffic held up well in the first month of this year’s summer peak, though the increase in passenger numbers didn’t keep pace with the year-on-year increase in capacity and our load factor fell as a result. The weakness on routes such as Shanghai, Japan and the Middle East continued, but key long-haul routes held up well, as did traffic in Southeast Asia. Our premium business remained strong, with both volumes and yield showing growth over 2010.”

Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing James Woodrow said: “There was no real change from the previous month’s market situation, with weak demand continuing out of both Hong Kong and Mainland China. India routes continued to perform well and the new service to Bengaluru, which launched on 1 August, got off to a solid start. We expect the markets to remain soft through to mid-September. However, our long-term confidence in Hong Kong as an airfreight hub was confirmed by our order for eight new Boeing 777-200 Freighters."

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