Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Home Travel Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon Carried Just 47,061 Passengers in September

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon Carried Just 47,061 Passengers in September

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a
combined total of just 47,061 passengers in September 2020, a
decrease of 98.1% when compared to September 2019.

The month’s revenue passenger kilometres
(RPKs) fell 97% year-on-year. Passenger load factor dropped by
48.8 percentage points to 24.9%, while capacity, measured in
available seat kilometres (ASKs), decreased by 91%.

In the first
nine months of 2020, the number of passengers carried dropped by
83.2% against a 74.8% decrease in capacity and an 81% decrease in
RPKs, as compared to the same period for 2019.

Cathay Pacific Group Chief Customer and
Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said, “September rounded off what
has been an incredibly difficult summer, traditionally the peak
passenger travel season of the year. We continued to operate
minimal capacity – just 9% in September – a marginal
month-on-month increase from about 8% in August. This was despite
the resumption of some services, notably Cebu and Perth. Daily
passenger numbers remained low, averaging just 1,568, while load
factor sat at about 25%.


“In September, we continued to
rely heavily on student traffic to the UK. We launched three
charter services from Hong Kong to London to cater to demand from
transit passengers from the Chinese mainland, and another from
Hong Kong to Tel Aviv for transit passengers from Shanghai. Demand
from the Chinese mainland has gradually increased since the
lifting of the ban in Hong Kong of ex-Chinese mainland transit
travel in mid-August. Overall, transit passengers accounted for
about 33% of our total traffic in September.”

The two
airlines carried 109,453 tonnes of cargo and mail last month, a
decrease of 36.6% when compared to September 2019.

The month’s revenue
freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) fell 30.4% year-on-year. The
cargo and mail load factor increased by 9.8 percentage points to
75.3%, while capacity, measured in available freight tonne
kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 39.5%.

In the first nine months of
2020, the tonnage fell by 33.9% against a 34.9% drop in capacity
and a 26.9% decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for
2019.

“Cargo demand has begun to ramp up across the network as we
entered into the traditional peak season. Tonnage carried improved
about 7% month-on-month, though this was still substantially below
pre-COVID19 levels. Our freighter fleet schedule has been stepped
up and is now operating at peak season levels, with services
notably increased on Trans-Pacific routes. We also operated a
greater number of cargo-only passenger flights compared to August
– 525 pairs in total – and continued to charter Air Hong Kong
flights to complement our freighter and passenger schedules,” Mr.
Lam said. “In September, we began uplifting mail for Hongkong Post in
our passenger cabins using our reconfigured Boeing 777-300ER “preighters”,
which have had some of the Economy Class seats removed to provide
additional cargo space. This aircraft was also deployed to run a
new, temporary service to Pittsburgh serving the seasonal upsurge
in demand.”

IATA has
downgraded its full-year 2020 passenger traffic forecast to
reflect a drop of 66% and does not anticipate passenger travel
will return to pre-COVID19 levels until 2024. Meanwhile, cargo
demand remains depressed and is only recovering at a
slower-than-expected pace due to capacity constraints.

Lam
said: “After carefully studying numerous scenarios facing the
industry and our airlines, we expect we will be operating
approximately 10% of our pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity
for the rest of 2020 and under 50% for overall 2021. Among
the multiple scenarios studied, this one is already the most
optimistic that we can responsibly adopt at this moment. We assume
we will be operating well below a quarter of pre-pandemic capacity
in the first half of next year but will see a recovery in the
second half of the year – only assuming the vaccines currently
under development prove to be effective and are widely adopted in
our key markets by summer 2021.”

Cathay Pacific today announced that the
Cathay Dragon airline has ceased operations with immediate effect
and that the group will layoff close to 6,000 employees worldwide.

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