Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried
2,906,954 passengers last month – a drop of 11.3% compared to
Passenger load factor decreased by 7.2
percentage points to 79.9%, while capacity, measured in available
seat kilometres (ASKs), rose by 5.1%.
In the first eight months of 2019, the
number of passengers carried grew by 2.2% and capacity increased
by 6.5%, when compared to the same period in 2018.
Cathay Pacific Group Chief Customer and
Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said, “August was an incredibly
challenging month, both for Cathay Pacific and for Hong Kong.
Overall tourist arrivals into the city were nearly half of what
they usually are in what is normally a strong summer holiday
month, and this has significantly affected the performance of our
airlines. Our inbound Hong Kong traffic was down 38% while
outbound was down 12% year-on-year, and we don’t anticipate
September being any less difficult.
“Demand for premium class
travel experienced a more significant drop relative to leisure
travel and overall load factor dipped significantly to 80%.
Inbound traffic demand to Hong Kong from regional markets,
particularly mainland China and North East Asia, was severely hit,
though our South Pacific routes were a bright spot. As a result of
reduced travel demand, an increased mix of transit passengers and
the negative impact caused by the strengthening US dollar,
passenger yield was under further pressure.
“Given the current
significant decline in forward bookings for the remainder of the
year, we will make some short-term tactical measures such as
capacity realignments. Specifically, we are reducing our capacity
growth such that it will be slightly down year-on-year for the
2019 winter season (from end October 2019 to end March 2020)
versus our original growth plan of more than 6% for the period.
“Having said that, we remain optimistic in the medium term.
The strong commitment to our brand and customer experience remains
unchanged. Our investments in new aircraft and enhancing the
customer experience will continue, giving travellers more reasons
to fly with us. Customers can look forward to the imminent launch
of new First Class and Business Class cabin products as well as a
brand new dining proposition to be rolled out in our Economy
cabins. Of course, already in place on all cabins on long-haul
flights is a greatly expanded inflight entertainment offering.”
The two airlines carried 161,394 tonnes of cargo
and mail last month, a drop of 14% compared to the same month last
The cargo and mail load factor fell by 7.5 percentage points
to 60.9%, capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres
(AFTKs), was down by 0.6%, while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) dropped by 11.6%.
In the first eight
months of 2019, the tonnage fell by 7.1% against a 0.8% increase
in capacity and a 7.2% decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same
period in 2018.
“On the cargo side, our business continued to face headwinds.
Tonnage further deteriorated month-on-month across all regions,
driven in particular by slow demand over the holiday season in
different parts of the world, the effects of tropical storms and
disruptions at Hong Kong International Airport. Ongoing
geopolitical tensions continued to affect overall market
sentiment. Nevertheless, our outlook for September is slightly
more positive and we expect to see demand progressively improve,
driven by project shipments and the restocking of inventory as we
enter the traditionally high-demand season,” said Mr. Lam.
Protests in Hong Kong have become increasingly
violent in recent weeks, and protestors even managed to close the
airport, one of the busiest in the world, for almost two days.
The protestors have also caused damage to property and disrupted public
transport and roads, not only within the city, but also to and
from the airport. Hotels have also been badly affected with
RevPAR down by over 44.5% and arrivals to the city down by
nearly 40% in August. On Friday, organisers of the
Hong Kong Tennis Open, which had been
scheduled to take place take 5-13 October, postponed the event
until further notice.