Cathay Pacific Carried Just 37,815 Passengers in November

(18 Dec 2020)
Cathay Pacific carried just 37,815 passengers in
November 2020, a decrease of 98.6% when compared to November 2019.

The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs)
fell 97.9% year-on-year, whilst passenger load factor dropped by
61.5 percentage points to 18.5%, and capacity (ASKs) decreased by
90.9%.

In the first 11 months of 2020, the number of
passengers carried by Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon dropped by
85.8% against a 77.7% decrease in capacity and an 83.8% decrease
in RPKs, as compared to the same period for 2019.

Cathay Pacific Group Chief Customer and Commercial
Officer Ronald Lam said, “We are still not seeing any meaningful
improvement in our passenger business. On average, we carried just
1,261 passengers per day and load factor remained low at 18.5% –
both marginal increases over October.


“While we saw reasonably good traffic coming back
to Hong Kong from Canada and Australia, this was prior to the
implementation of new government quarantine requirements in the
middle of the month. Meanwhile, overall demand on long-haul
routes, particularly the UK and continental Europe, remained weak
owing to the ongoing impact of COVID19 in many European countries.

“Regionally, certain markets performed slightly
better. The uptick in traffic to and from Indonesia that we had
been seeing in October continued into November. Demand from the
Chinese mainland for flights to Japan was also promising with it
being particularly noticeable on our newly resumed Osaka flights.
And while the postponement of our Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel
Bubble (ATB) flights was disappointing, we fully support the
decision of the authorities and have resumed our previous schedule
of three non-ATB flights per week to and from Singapore until the
end of December.”

The airline carried 116,853 tonnes of cargo and
mail last month, a decrease of 34.3% compared to November 2019.
The month’s revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) fell 26.2%
year-on-year, whilst the cargo and mail load factor increased by 9.0
percentage points to 77.7%, with capacity AFTKs down 34.7%. In the first
11 months of 2020, the tonnage carried by Cathay Pacific and
Cathay Dragon fell by 34.3% against a 35.3% drop in capacity and a
27.2% decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2019.

“Cargo demand further strengthened in November,
largely driven by strong e-commerce traffic as well as solid
movement of electronic products, perishables and automotive
shipments across our network. We also continue to work on
customised solutions for our business partners and notably we have
commenced a series of chartered freighter flights serving Riyadh
in Saudi Arabia,” said Mr. Lam. “We have been utilising our freighter resources to
their fullest while also mounting 728 pairs of cargo only
passenger flights. This was 152 pairs – or 26% – more than we
operated in October, and 30 of these carried cargo in the
passenger cabins. Meanwhile, load factor remained high at 77.7%.”

Cathay Pacific Looking Ahead

“Looking ahead on the passenger front, we still
are not seeing significant demand for travel as we head towards
the end of 2020 – traditionally a strong travel season in the
year. Demand continues to weaken on long-haul routes and we
anticipate we will rely more on traffic on regional services in
the immediate future. Given the slow speed of recovery, we expect
to operate about 9% of pre-COVID19 capacity in December and
slightly above 10% in January 2021,” Mr. Lam said.

“The December capacity results in the average
capacity for the second half of 2020 being 8.4% of pre-COVID-19
level, compared to the average capacity of 34.3% in the first
half. This, together with the additional restructuring and
impairment costs announced in October, and further aircraft
impairment at year-end, is expected to result in the second-half
losses being significantly higher than the first-half losses
reported in our interim accounts.

“From a cargo perspective, we will soon launch a
seasonal cargo service into Hobart in Australia beginning
mid-December to support exports of fresh produce from Tasmania
into different parts of Asia. In terms of specialised products,
the airline along with our cargo terminal and ground-handling
subsidiaries have been re-certified with IATA’s CEIV Pharma
accreditation, and we are actively preparing ourselves to meet the
challenge of shipping temperature- and time-sensitive vaccines
across our network when the time arises.”

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