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Cathay Pacific Reports March 2009 Traffic Figures

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Cathay Pacific’s and Dragonair’s combined traffic figures for March 2009 show a drop in the number of passengers carried compared to the same month last year together with another sharp fall in cargo and mail tonnage.

In March 2009, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair between them carried a total of 2,096,011 passengers – a fall of 3.2% compared to the same month in 2008 - while the load factor fell by 3 percentage points to 79.1%. Capacity for the month, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), dropped by 0.8%. For the year to date, the number of passengers carried is down by 2.7% while capacity has risen by 0.1%.

The two airlines carried a total of 129,628 tonnes of cargo and mail last month, down 13.7% on March 2008, while capacity, measured in available cargo/mail tonne kilometres, fell by 10.0%. The cargo and mail load factor fell by 0.3 percentage points to 67.9%. For the year to date, tonnage has fallen by 18.7% compared to a capacity drop of 14.1%.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management Tom Owen said, "The slump in our passenger business continued in March, with overall passenger numbers and load factor both showing a fall from last year's high base, which included the Easter holiday period. Leisure traffic held up relatively well in terms of volumes, particularly on long-haul routes, although customers are only willing to travel at the much lower fares available in a highly competitive marketplace. This, combined with the ongoing malaise of premium-cabin demand and adverse currency movements, continues to exert considerable downward pressure on yields."

Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing Titus Diu added, "The sharp drop in tonnage compared to the previous year highlights the continued weakness of the global airfreight business, and the fierce competition in shrinking markets is putting tremendous pressure on our cargo yield. The market out of the Hong Kong continues to be hit by a fall in production in the key Pearl and Yangtze River Delta areas, though our business to and from the United States received a lift from the launch of a new service to Miami and Houston which is giving us greater access to the important South American markets."

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