Cathay Pacific carried 54,092 passengers last month, a 25.8 percent rise over July 2020 but a 98.4 percent decline over the pre-pandemic level in July 2019. The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased by 22.6 percent year on year, but fell by 97.6 percent compared to July 2019.
Passenger load factor climbed by 5.1 percentage points to 28.5 percent, while capacity increased by 0.7 percent but remained 92.9 percent lower than in July 2019. When compared to the same period in 2020, the number of passengers carried dropped by 95.2% in the first seven months of 2021, despite an 81.9 percent decline in capacity and a 94.3 percent decrease in RPKs.
Last month, the airline transported 121,600 tonnes of freight and mail, a 19.1 percent rise over July 2020 but a 28.4 percent decline over the same period in 2019. The month’s revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) increased 17.8 percent year on year but decreased 20.8 percent when compared to July 2019.
The cargo and mail load factor improved by 5.4 percentage points to 81.8 percent, while capacity, as measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), increased by 10.1 percent year on year but decreased by 38.9 percent compared to July 2019. When compared to the same period in 2020, tonnage declined by 12.7 percent in the first seven months of 2021, while capacity decreased by 26.7 percent and RFTKs decreased by 15.2 percent.
“Our passenger capacity in July fell marginally by 3 percent month on month,” said Ronald Lam, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer. We only used 7.1% of our pre-pandemic passenger capacity in July 2019. There were some signs of improvement in demand. In July, we carried 54,092 passengers, an average of 1,745 every day. We carried 2,585 people on July 29, the most in a single day in 2021. Meanwhile, our passenger load factor of 28.5 percent was the greatest in the last year.
Transit traffic from China’s Mainland to the United States and Canada remained strong. Furthermore, we were able to catch a few pockets of demand for flights from the Chinese Mainland to Southeast Asia, specifically Jakarta and Hanoi. The rise in demand offset the loss of traffic from flights that were suspended last month, namely from the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Meanwhile, passenger flights to Auckland, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Tel Aviv, and Wuhan have resumed. Information from the Media
“Cargo capacity grew 12.1 percent month on month in July, owing to the full restart of our freighter schedule and a 33 percent increase in cargo-only passenger flights,” Lam explained. “All sales regions and route groups saw good tonnage growth proportional to capacity increase, ensuring we maintained a high load factor of 81.8 percent during the month. We saw more active vaccine movement in July, and we have now exceeded the milestone of 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccinations transported to places around the world.
“We applaud the Hong Kong SAR government’s recent changes to the entrance procedures for passengers entering Hong Kong. COVID-19, as well as the associated travel restrictions and quarantine regulations in Hong Kong and around the world, continue to decrease passenger demand for air travel.
Furthermore, quarantine and other COVID-19-related rules affecting our aircrew continue to limit our capacity to service our passenger and cargo markets. By the fourth quarter of 2021, we anticipate to be able to operate at roughly 30% of our pre-pandemic passenger capacity. However, this is greatly contingent on the relaxation of operational and consumer travel limitations.
This, as governments around the world have stated, will be attainable only if sufficiently high immunization rates are attained. Looking ahead, student traffic to the United States and the United Kingdom is likely to provide a minor lift to our business in August and September, respectively.
Flights on peak days are already sold out, and early departure dates are likely to see higher bookings as demand grows. Earlier this month, we also celebrated the first flight of our new Airbus A321neo to Shanghai (Pudong), as we gradually restart more flights to the Chinese Mainland and the region.
Despite the fact that we are entering the normally calmer summer months for cargo, overall demand is increasing. As a result, there is good momentum building as we approach the cargo high season.”