, Hong Kong

Cathay’s cargo business ‘exceptionally strong’ in November

The airline operated 71% of its pre-pandemic capacity during the month.

Cathay Pacific said its cargo business was “exceptionally strong” during November.

The airline’s November traffic figures showed that it carried 135,350 tonnes in the last month, an increase of 15.8% year-on-year (YoY).

Cargo revenue tonne-kilometres (RFTKs) and capacity measured in available cargo tonne also rose during the month by 15.5% YoY and 9.5% YoY, respectively.

Meanwhile, the cargo load factor increased by 4.3 percentage points to 82.6%.

Cathay also reported that it operated a record-high 1,035 pairs of cargo-only passenger flights last month, which represents approximately 71% of its pre-pandemic cargo capacity.

“Air cargo demand was consistently robust across our markets. In addition to underlying air cargo demand remaining strong, we also carried products that would usually be shipped by sea as retailers looked to replenish low inventories to meet customer demand,” the airline said.

The airline expects the “strong peak season” of its cargo business to “last well into December.”

"We expect to operate our full freighter schedule as planned for the rest of the month. Nevertheless, we continue to face operational challenges, and we remain agile in planning our cargo flight schedule,” it said.

On the passenger side, the airlines said November was “extremely challenging” for the airlines.

Cathay carried about 5% fewer passengers per day in November compared to October.

The airline said  it had a slowdown in traffic, “particularly student travel, from both Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland to the UK.”

In total, the airlines carried 70,047 passengers last month, an increase of 85.2% compared to November 2020. The month’s revenue passenger kilometres and capacity measured in available seat kilometres also rose last month, increasing by  87.1% YoY and 29.5% YoY, respectively. 

Meanwhile, the passenger load factor increased by 8.2 percentage points to 26.8%.

The airline has adjusted its flight schedules for December and will operate no more than 12% of its pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity for the rest of the month in light of the latest travel restrictions imposed by different counties amidst the emergence of the Omicron variant.

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