Cathay Pacific cargo carried in March up 17%
Capacity on long-haul routes remained constrained by aircrew quarantine rules: Chief Commercial Officer Ronald Lam
Cathay Pacific carried 97,166 tonnes of cargo in March 2022, an increase of 16.6 percent compared to March 2021 but a 47.5 percent decline compared with the same period in 2019.
"The month's cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) dropped 28.4 percent year-on-year, and were down 65.6 percent compared to March 2019," an official statement said.
"The cargo load factor decreased 4.9 percentage points to 81.5 percent while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down over 24 percent year-on-year and down over 71 percent versus March 2019."
The tonnage decreased 13.8 percent against a 49.2 percent drop in capacity and a 50.3 percent decrease in cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) in the first three months of 2022 compared to the same period for 2021.
Cargo carried for the first three months ended March 2022 totalled 236,533 tonnes, a drop of 14 percent from the previous year.
"For cargo, our capacity on long-haul routes remained constrained by ongoing aircrew quarantine requirements," says Ronald Lam, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, Cathay Pacific. "However, we were very pleased to have brought Atlanta, Houston and Miami back on line. With reduced long-haul operations, we have used the available aircraft and crew to add capacity to our regional lanes, in particular Northeast Asia and South Asia where demand has been relatively robust. Overall, our cargo flight capacity has recovered over 40 percent compared to the lowest point in January although it remains just 29 percent of pre-Covid-19 levels.
"On the demand side, tonnage contribution from Hong Kong reduced in March as cross-border trucking capacity remained constrained, and production in the southern part of the Chinese Mainland was affected due to ongoing anti-pandemic measures. Nevertheless, strong transhipment from other markets filled some of this gap, resulting in 49 percent tonnage growth compared to the previous month. The regional movement of Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) shipments and other medical supplies continued to be active throughout the month."
April outlook steady
Speaking on the outlook for April, Lam said: "Regarding cargo, we will be operating at a similar level of capacity in April as in March due to on-going operational constraints. Having said that, we are continually looking to increase our long-haul cargo flight capacity where possible and we will resume limited freighter flights to Europe with Frankfurt coming back on line from mid-April.
"Regionally, we expect exports from Shanghai to be significantly reduced in light of the Covid-19 situation there. On the positive side, demand from Hong Kong should slowly recover as cross-border trucking bottlenecks ease, while the feed from other parts of our network remains healthy. As Hong Kong's home carrier, we remain resolutely committed to keeping the flow of people and cargo between Hong Kong and the rest of the world safely moving despite the difficult circumstances presented by Covid-19."
Confidence in the long-term future of both Cathay Pacific and the Hong Kong international aviation hub remains as steadfast as ever, Lam added.