CX reports May performance gains

HONG KONG, 15 June 2022: Cathay Pacific saw passenger gains in May 2022 when compared with the same month last year, lifting the airline’s load factor by 33.7 percentage points to 60.5%, according to the airline’s traffic figures released Tuesday.

In a media statement, the airline said the May 2022 traffic figures started to reflect the positive impact of government changes to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.

Cathay Pacific carried 57,982 passengers during May 2022, an increase of 141.5% compared to May 2021 but a 98% decrease compared to the pre-pandemic level in May 2019. The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 164.4% year-on-year but were down 97.1% versus May 2019.

Passenger load factor increased by 33.7 percentage points to 60.5%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 16.8% year-on-year, but decreased by 96% compared with May 2019 levels. In the first five months of 2022, the number of passengers carried increased by 59.1% against a 48.5% decrease in capacity and a 49.3% increase in RPKs, as compared to the same period for 2021.

Travel

Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam commented: “The introduction of further adjustments to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in Hong Kong from 1 May was a welcome development, although our business during the month remained constrained.

“We increased our passenger flight capacity by 78% compared with April, but we still only operated about 4% of our pre-pandemic levels. Traffic volume in RPK increased 94% month on month, which was driven primarily by long-haul flights. As a result, the overall load factor reached 60.5%.

“The additional passenger flight capacity we mounted in May provided better connectivity for our transit passengers, particularly those travelling from the Chinese Mainland to long-haul destinations such as the US, Europe and Australia. Demand for inbound flights to Hong Kong saw substantial growth, driven by pent-up demand from North America, the UK and Europe. We also resumed flights to India last month with services to Delhi and Mumbai. On the other hand, we continued to operate limited frequencies into the Chinese Mainland to comply with ongoing capacity restrictions.”

Outlook

“The first quarter of 2022 saw travel restrictions and quarantine requirements tightening as Hong Kong continued to fight against COVID-19. Such measures have restricted our ability to operate beyond only a fraction of our passenger services and have significantly reduced our cargo capacity.

“However, with the recent adjustments to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, we have been able to resume more flight capacity in the second quarter. Given a strong underlying cargo performance coupled with our cost-management measures implemented over the past two years, our consolidated losses in the first half of 2022, while substantial, are expected to be lower than the consolidated losses reported in the first half of 2021.”

“Earlier this month, the Hong Kong SAR Government agreed to extend the drawdown period of the HKD7.8 billion loan facility for 12 months to 8 June 2023. The further extension of the drawdown period is greatly appreciated and will provide us with the flexibility to manage our liquidity position.

“Looking ahead to June and beyond, as travel demand continues to improve over the coming months, we will increase passenger flight capacity as much as is practicable under the confines of ongoing restrictions. Cathay Pacific started the year operating flights to 29 destinations, and we target to double that by the end of the year. As of June, we are already halfway towards reaching this target, with 45 destinations resumed.

“We will be keeping a close eye on the opening up of travel activities in nearby countries, such as Japan and South Korea, and will look to operate flights to capture potential demand wherever possible. We also expect transit traffic to improve and become more diversified, particularly between the UK, Australia and New Zealand, as well as North America and Southeast Asia.”

(Source: Cathay Pacific)

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