Coronavirus: Cathay Pacific’s traffic figures have taken a hit
February 18, 2020: The Cathay Pacific Group saw decrease in the number of passengers, cargos and mails traffics to the same month in 2019, according to the Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon traffic figures for January 2020.
The two airlines saw a decrease of 8.9% in cargo and mail carried compared to the same month last year— total weight standing at 151,964 tonnes. The cargo and mail load factor declined by 1.4 percentage points to 60.2%. Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 3.2% while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) decreased by 5.4%.
“This was the most challenging Chinese New Year period we have experienced. As the novel coronavirus outbreak in mainland China intensified towards the end of the holiday period, travel demand dropped substantially. With more governments worldwide having imposed travel restrictions on passengers from mainland China and in some cases Hong Kong, we are seeing continued cancellations of bookings,” Cathay Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said, “We have since taken a series of short-term measures in response. These notably include the sharp reduction of capacity across our global network. For February and March, we have now reduced our overall passenger flight capacity by approximately 40%, representing further reduction since our recent announcement. Passenger capacity reduction is also likely for April as we continue to monitor and match market demand. Meanwhile, we have kept our freighter capacity intact.”
Discussing the drop in cargo performance, Lam compared performances from the first three quarters of January, from the rest, where the company “saw reasonably solid demand across our network for the first three weeks of January. Our mainland China point of sales particularly stood out, recording year-on-year tonnage growth. By the last week of January, however, overall demand plummeted as manufacturing came to a halt in mainland China during the Chinese New Year holiday. The delay of the post-Chinese New Year resumption of manufacturing across mainland China has significantly affected both our Hong Kong and mainland China markets. However, demand elsewhere across our network remains buoyant, especially on trade lanes that have seen significant reductions in passenger capacity. The financial results for the first half of 2020 will be significantly down on the same period last year.”
Acknowledging the impacts of the coronavirus, which has slowed down many other airlines' operations, Lam underscored the brand Cathay Pacific and its track record, and assured that the airlines will emerge stronger from the unfortunate crisis.