, Hong Kong

Turbulent start: Cathay's passenger, cargo traffic drop double-digits in January

In February, the airline expects reduced traffic for both its passenger and cargo business.

Cathay Pacific had a turbulent start to 2022 after its passenger and cargo traffic both dropped in the first month of the year.

The airline flew only 24,699 passengers in total which represents an 18.8% year-on-year (YoY) drop.

This is also a big decrease from the 92,219 passengers they flew last December 2021.

When compared to the pre-pandemic level in January 2019, the current figure represents a 99.2% decline.

Apart from passenger volume, revenue passenger kilometres, and capacity, measured in available seat kilometres also decreased in January 2022 by 23.4% YoY and 74.8% YoY, respectively. Passenger load factor, on the other hand, increased by 27.1 percentage points to 40.3%.

In the coming months until “at least” end of Mach, the airline said it expects a highly reduced passenger flight schedule “in view of the extension of quarantine measures for Hong Kong-based aircrew, the flight-specific and place-specific suspension mechanism as well as the transit ban by the Hong Kong SAR Government.”

Currently, the airlines are operating about 2% of their pre-COVID passenger flight capacity and will continue to do so as restrictions remain in place in HK.

“We will continue to strive to maintain passenger connectivity to key destinations as much as possible, although we are currently not seeing any signs of significant recovery in passenger travel demand,” the airline said in its traffic figures report.

The airline’s cargo business also did not perform well last month, carrying only 74,242 tonnes of cargo, a 31.8% drop from January 2021.

Cargo revenue tonne-kilometres (RFTKs),  cargo load factor decreased, and capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (AFTKs) likewise was down by 64.4% YoY, 2.8 percentage points to 76.6%, and 63.1% YoY, respectively.

The airline operates less than one-third of its pre-COVID cargo flight capacity and will continue to do so in the first quarter of the year.

In the first half of next month, the airline is also expecting reduced demand for cargo due to reduced production over the Lunar New Year holiday period.

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