HONG KONG, 23 September 2021: Cathay Pacific’s traffic figures for August 2021 reflect substantial capacity reductions in the face of reduced demand caused by travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in Hong Kong and other markets.
Cathay Pacific carried 135,353 passengers last month, an
increase of 278.4% compared to August 2020, but a 95.3% decrease compared to
the pre-pandemic level in August 2019.
The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 294.1%
year-on-year but were down 92.4% versus August 2019.
Passenger load factor increased by 26.5 percentage points to
46.4%. Capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by
68.9% but remained 86.9% down on August 2019 levels. In the first eight months
of 2021, passengers dropped by 92.2% against a 76.2% decrease in capacity and
an 89.7% decrease in RPKs, as compared to the same period for 2020.
Commenting on the results, chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said: “While the Covid-19 situation continues to present us with considerable challenges, we did see some improvement in the performance of our passenger business in August. Overall, passenger capacity increased 81% compared with July, although we still only operated about 13% of our August 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Load factor reached 46.4% – the highest it’s been since March 2020.”
August’s passenger performance was driven primarily by
student traffic, in particular from the Chinese Mainland to the US. The airline
increased capacity on these services, with its Shanghai flights notably
increasing to three times per day from mid-August. Services to New York, San
Francisco and Los Angeles flights also saw capacity increases. The airline also
resumed flights to Chicago and Boston.
Student travel from Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland to
London, UK, also gradually picked up from mid-August. The airline resumed its
Manchester services. It also resumed services in August to Paris, Phuket and Qingdao.
“From early August, we were able to resume flights from the
UK to Hong Kong, although the inbound demand was relatively weak. In general,
inbound traffic slowed down after 20 August when the Hong Kong SAR Government
tightened quarantine requirements for travellers arriving in Hong Kong from 16
overseas places,” Lam explained.
Even though the August passenger capacity, at about 13% of
pre-pandemic levels, was an improvement over previous months, the airline had
targeted 30% of pre-pandemic capacity by the fourth quarter of 2021.
That is now unlikely as operational and passenger travel
restrictions remain in place and continue to constrain the airline’s ability to
operate more flights.
Lam said the airline expects to maintain similar passenger
capacity levels to August 2021 for the remainder of the year, “while remaining
responsive to any unexpected changes in travel restrictions. We maintain our
focus on prudent cash management, targeting cash burn of less than HKD1 billion
per month for the rest of 2021.”
(Source: Cathay Pacific)