AVIATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific's carried passengers soar by 5.8% in December 2015

Christmas travel peak was cited.

Cathay Pacific Airways has released combined Cathay Pacific and Dragonair traffic figures for December 2015 that show an increase in both the number of passengers carried and the volume of cargo and mail uplifted compared to the same month in 2014.

According to a release from Cathay Pacific, it and Dragonair carried a total of 2,933,382 passengers last month – an increase of 5.8% compared to December 2014.

The passenger load factor grew by 1.5 percentage points to 85.0% while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), grew by 6.0%. For 2015 as a whole, passenger traffic rose by 7.9% while capacity increased by 5.9%.

The two airlines carried 158,741 tonnes of cargo and mail in December, a 1.4% increase compared to the same month last year. The cargo and mail load factor fell by 0.3 percentage points to 67.9%. Capacity, measured in available cargo/mail tonne kilometres, was up by 2.4% while cargo and mail revenue tonne kilometres (RTKs) flown increased by 2.0% For 2015 as a whole, tonnage rose by 4.3% against a capacity increase of 5.4% and a 5.4% rise in RTKs.

Here's more from Cathay Pacific:

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management Patricia Hwang said: “As expected, we handled high volumes of passengers as the Christmas travel peak got underway. We operated fewer pairs of extra sectors than Christmas last year – 31 compared to 35 – but this was balanced by more scheduled capacity on a number of routes.

Traffic to holiday hotspots such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Singapore was very high, though demand to Bangkok was still being affected by the bombing incident in 2015. We also saw strong demand on most of our long-haul routes, especially in the Economy cabin. However, unfavourable currency movements continued to have a considerable impact on yield.”

Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing Mark Sutch said: “The seasonal peak for airfreight lasted until the week before Christmas and our performance in December, at least in terms of tonnage lifted, was marginally ahead of expectations. Demand on the transpacific and Indian routes remained robust.

Unfortunately, the excess of capacity in the world’s air cargo markets made it difficult for carriers to get rates up to the kind of levels expected during the yearend peak. Overcapacity and pressure on yield will remain concerns for the industry moving into the New Year.”

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