, Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific passenger traffic rises 47.9% YoY in February 2022 

This was due to post-Chinese New Year traffic and student traffic.

Hong Kong flag carrier, Cathay Pacific, carried a total of 31,253 passengers in February this year, 47.9% higher than 21,134 passengers in February 2021, caused by the post-Chinese New Year traffic and demand for flights to Australia.

According to Ronald Lam, Cathay Pacific’s chief customer and commercial officer, the airline carried more passengers in February than January due to the ongoing traffic from Chinese Mainland to long-haul destinations, post-Chinese New Year traffic, and flights to Australia, which is notably student traffic from Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong.

Lam also noted that they continued to grapple with the travel restrictions in Hong Kong, prompting them to constrain their passenger flight capacity in February where they operate below 2% of pre-COVID-19 levels, which is a reduction of about 28% compared to January this year.

“We continue to operate a reduced long-haul cargo schedule in light of ongoing crew quarantine measures and in February we operated around 25% of our pre-COVID-19 cargo flight capacity,” Lam said in a statement.

Despite the increase, the total count of passengers in February this year is down by 98.9% from 2,833,534 passengers documented in the same period in 2019.

The airline also reported a revenue passenger kilometres of 99,027 last month which is a 5.2% increase from 94,156 in February 2021 but a 99% decline from 10,314,055 in February 2019.

Passenger load went up by 33.8 points to 47.6%, whilst capacity measured in available seat kilometres decreased by 69.4% year-on-year and declined by 98.4% compared with February 2019.

From January to February 2022, the count of passengers carried grew by 8.6% against a 72.8% decrease in capacity and a 12.5% decrease in RPKs compared with the same period last year.

Cathay Pacific also carried 65,126 tonnes of cargo last month, a decline of 20.9% compared to the same period last year, and a 50.4% decrease compared with February 2019.

The cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) last month went down 53.3% year-on-year and 67.9% lower compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The cargo load factor increased by 0.9 percentage points to 80.5% whilst capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres, went down by 53.8% year-on-year, and declined by 75.8% in February 2019. 

In the first two months this year, the tonnage was down by 27.1% against a 59.1% drop in capacity and a 59.6% decrease in RFTKs, as compared to February last year.

Lam said they also do not see signs of recovery in passenger travel demand in March 2022 due to the stricter capacity restrictions by Mainland China and Hong Kong.

In a bid to raise its opportunities, Lam said they will redeploy freighters to North Asia and the Indian sub-continent whilst their long haul services continue to be constrained. 

“Nevertheless, we are continually looking to increase our long-haul cargo flight capacity where possible, and we have resumed freighter services into Atlanta, Houston and Miami in the US,” said Lam.

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