According to Cathay Pacific, its traffic figures for August 2022 continued to reflect the beneficial impacts of additional revisions to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, particularly the requirement for inbound travelers to stay in hotels that have a mandatory quarantine arrangement.
Last month, Cathay Pacific carried a total of 253,907 passengers, up 87.6% from August 2021 but down 91.3% from the pre-pandemic level in August 2019.
Revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) for the month were up 82.7% year over year but down 86.1% from August 2019. While capacity, measured in available seat kilometers (ASKs), increased by 23.5% year over year but declined by 83.8% compared to August 2019 levels, passenger load factor increased by 22.2 percentage points to 68.6%.
In comparison to the first eight months of 2021, the number of passengers transported increased by 133.5%, while capacity increased by 1.6% and RPKs increased by 141.9%.
Last month, the airline transported 104,851 tonnes of cargo, a 15.6% decrease from August 2021 and a 35% decrease from the same time in 2019.
The month’s cargo revenue tonne kilometers (RFTKs) fell 35.1% from August 2019 and by 23.3% from the previous year. The available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), a measure of capacity, fell by 11.1% year over year and by 41.1% from August 2019 while the cargo load factor dropped by 10.7 percentage points to 67%.
In comparison to the first eight months of 2021, the tonnage dropped by 8%, while capacity and RFTKs fell by 25.4% and 32.4%, respectively.
Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said: “We continued to see improved performance in our travel business in August. Average daily passenger numbers further increased month on month and exceeded 8,000.
Compared to July, the number of passengers per flight jumped by 28%, although we were still only operating at about 16% of pre-pandemic levels. Load factor remained high at close to 69% during this time.
We saw an upsurge in inbound traffic to our home hub after the Hong Kong SAR Government changed the hotel quarantine policy for visitors entering Hong Kong starting on 12 August. This was accurate, especially for long-distance traffic coming from the US, Canada, and Europe.
Our ability to carry people to Zhengzhou, Qingdao, and Xiamen resumed in August, but our capacity for passenger flights to the Chinese Mainland remained limited.
“Student traffic from the Chinese Mainland to the US represented a significant portion of our passenger traffic last month. On top of our existing services to New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, we resumed flights to Chicago and Boston in August for the first time this year to cater to the strong demand.
As a result, our US-bound flights managed 80% of load factors. Apart from student traffic, our US routes were also boosted in the other direction by transit traffic traveling to Southeast Asia, the result of greater connectivity from increased flight frequency.
“In terms of cargo, we operated a full freighter schedule in August, which was supported by increased passenger flights as well as regional cargo-only passenger flights. While our overall cargo flight capacity was down 11% compared with the same period last year, this was because we operated a significant number of long-haul cargo-only passenger flights at that time.
Overall, we operated 59% of our pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity in August. Demand has remained flat throughout the summer months, but we have continued to make all preparations to ensure smooth operations as we step into the cargo peak season.