Cathay warns of 'significant impact' to revenue from unrest, as cargo dips 8pc in July

HONG Kong's Cathay Pacific Group carried 169,720 tonnes of cargo and mail in July, a drop of 8.2 per cent compared to the same month last year, the company revealed.

In announcing last month's combined traffic figures for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, Cathay's chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam explained that the recent events in Hong Kong over the past two months did not substantially impact the two airlines' passenger business in July, "however, we anticipate a much more significant impact to our revenue in August and onwards.

"Traffic into Hong Kong, both business and leisure, has weakened substantially and we've also now seen ex-Hong Kong traffic starting to soften, especially on our short-haul network including mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and South East Asia."

The cargo and mail load factor of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon fell by 7.2 percentage points to 63.1 per cent. Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was up 0.8 per cent while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) dropped 9.4 per cent.

In the first seven months of 2019, the tonnage fell by 6.1 per cent against a one per cent increase in capacity and a 6.6 per cent decrease in RFTKs.

"Our cargo business continued to face headwinds with market sentiment softening across the board," said Mr Lam.

"Indeed, South Asia was the only sales region where we still saw tonnage growth compared to the previous month and year. While the market outlook remains uncertain, we continue to be vigilant as we work to mitigate the impact on our business.

"We are diligently matching capacity with customer demand while also strengthening our capability to carry specialised shipments."

The two airlines carried a total of 3,278,742 passengers last month - an increase of 4 per cent compared to July 2018.

The passenger load factor decreased by 0.6 percentage points to 86.1 per cent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased 7.2 per cent.

In the first seven months of 2019, the number of passengers carried grew 4.4 per cent while capacity increased 6.7 per cent.

Commenting on the passenger figures, Mr Lam said: "Passenger demand was strong in the first half of the summer peak while load factors also remained high. Especially pleasing were our India and Taiwan services, which have continued to perform well.

"As anticipated, however, yield remained under pressure due to intense competition and increasing transit passenger traffic, and our North America, Europe and mainland China routes under performed as a result."

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