HONG KONG, 21 February 2022: Cathay Pacific continues to suffer substantial capacity reductions in response to significantly reduced demand and quarantine restrictions the airline reported in its latest traffic figures for January 202
The airline released traffic figures for January 2022 at the
weekend, showing it had carried 24,699 passengers last month, a decrease of
18.8% compared to January 2021 and a 99.2% decrease compared to the
pre-pandemic level in January 2019.
The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) decreased
23.4% year-on-year and were down 99% versus January 2019. Passenger load factor
increased by 27.1 percentage points to 40.3%, while capacity, measured in
available seat kilometres (ASKs), decreased by 74.8% year-on-year and decreased
by 97.9% compared with January 2019 levels.
The airline carried 74,242 tonnes of cargo last month, a
decrease of 31.8% compared to January 2021 and a 55.5% decrease compared with
the same period in 2019. The month’s cargo revenue tonne-kilometres (RFTKs)
decreased 64.4% year-on-year and were down 73.6% compared to January 2019. The
cargo load factor decreased by 2.8 percentage points to 76.6%, while capacity,
measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 63.1% year-on-year
and was down by 78.8% versus January 2019.
Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam commented:
“We’ve had a very difficult start to 2022 with the accelerated spread of the
Omicron variant and the further tightening of travel and operational
restrictions, notably stricter quarantine requirements for Hong Kong-based
aircrew. As a result, Cathay Pacific’s passenger flight capacity in January
reduced by about 82% compared with December 2021, to about 2.1% of pre-COVID-19
levels. Meanwhile, passenger numbers dropped to an average of 797 per day. The
load factor was about 40%.
“Both inbound and transit traffic were limited by the
enhanced restrictions imposed by the Hong Kong SAR Government, while outbound
demand also remained weak. Passenger traffic in January was largely generated
from ex-Chinese Mainland flights via the Hong Kong hub to long-haul
destinations in Australia, the US and the UK. We also saw some pre-Lunar New
Year traffic between the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong.
“Our regional operations remained intact and, as such,
our teams were able to place added focus on opportunities in the Chinese
Mainland and the region. This resulted in increased cargo capacity for services
to destinations in Northeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, where there was
good demand prior to the Lunar New Year holidays.
“Looking ahead in February and beyond, we will continue to
operate a highly reduced passenger flight schedule until at least the end of
March in view of the extension of quarantine measures for Hong Kong-based
aircrew, the flight-specific and place-specific suspension mechanism as well as
the transit ban by the Hong Kong SAR Government. We will continue to strive to
maintain passenger connectivity to key destinations as much as possible,
although we are currently not seeing any signs of significant recovery in
passenger travel demand. We expect to continue operating about 2% of our
pre-COVID-19 passenger flight capacity while current restrictions remain in
“Regarding cargo, demand during the first half of
February was affected by the reduced production over the Lunar New Year holiday
period, though it is expected to progressively improve during the second half
of the month. In light of the ongoing strict crew quarantine requirements, we
will continue to operate a reduced schedule for our long-haul cargo operations,
with services to Europe and the Middle East continuing to be served by
passenger aircraft carrying cargo only, while trans-Pacific frequencies will remain
similar to January. However, we have managed to restore some freighter
frequencies to the Southwest Pacific, and we will continue to maximise
opportunities provided by our regional markets. Overall, our cargo flight
capacity is likely to remain less than one-third of pre-COVID-19 levels in the
first quarter,” Lam concluded.
(Source: Cathay Pacific)