AVIATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific, Dragonair passengers creep up by 2.6% in March

There's also a slight cargo and mail volume decrease.

Cathay Pacific Airways has released combined Cathay Pacific and Dragonair traffic figures for March 2016 that show an increase in the number of passengers carried compared to the same month in 2015, alongside a marginal decrease in the volume of cargo and mail uplifted.

According to a release from Cathay Pacific Airways, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair carried a total of 2,960,915 passengers last month – an increase of 2.6% compared to March 2015. The passenger load factor fell by 3.4 percentage points to 83.9% while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), grew by 5.2%. In the first quarter of 2016, the number of passengers carried rose by 5.3% compared to a 6.5% increase in capacity.

The two airlines carried 157,006 tonnes of cargo and mail in March, a drop of 0.4% compared to the same month last year. The cargo and mail load factor fell by 5.4 percentage points to 63.0%. Capacity, measured in available cargo/mail tonne kilometres, increased by 4.1% while cargo and mail revenue tonne kilometres (RTKs) fell by 4.1%. In the first quarter of the year, the tonnage carried fell by 3.1% against a 2.6% increase in capacity and a 4.8% drop in RTKs.

Here's more from Cathay Pacific Airways:

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management Patricia Hwang said: “Passenger traffic was generally robust in March, although the growth in passenger numbers was not able to keep pace with the growth in capacity, leading to a drop in load factor. Traffic was boosted by the Easter holiday and school holidays at the end of the month, with strong demand to the major holiday destinations in the region.

The proximity of the Ching Ming festival to Easter resulted in higher demand for long-haul travel over the holiday period. However, demand in the premium cabins continued to fall short of expectations, which in turn put downward pressure on yield.”

Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing Mark Sutch said: “Following a generally weak February, we saw some improvement in airfreight demand in March. This was helped by the shipment of new consumer IT products out of the major manufacturing cities of Western China. There was a pickup in traffic on key transpacific routes, and we mounted a number of additional flights into India in response to continued robust demand. Overall, however, the air cargo markets remain soft and yield remains under pressure in what is a highly competitive environment.”

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