Cathay sets milestone with July traffic; Singapore Airlines sees strong demand - Asian Aviation

SeoulCathay Pacific released its traffic figures for July 2023, which show that together with HK Express, the Cathay Group as a whole surpassed the milestone of having carried more than two million passengers in a month for the first time since the pandemic.

Cathay Pacific carried a total of 1,744,374 passengers last month, an increase of 693.8% compared with July 2022. The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 421.6% year on year. Passenger load factor increased by 16 percentage points to 89.3%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 328.2% year on year. In the first seven months of 2023, the number of passengers carried increased by 1,622% against a 818.9% increase in capacity and a 1,149% increase in RPKs, as compared with the same period for 2022.

The airline carried 115,729 tonnes of cargo last month, an increase of 14.9% compared with July 2022. The month’s cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) increased 24.6% year on year. The cargo load factor decreased by 11.2 percentage points to 59.8%, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), increased by 47.9% year on year. In the first seven months of 2023, the tonnage increased by 22.4% against a 102.5% increase in capacity and a 71.1% increase in RFTKs, as compared with the same period for 2022.

Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau said: “July marks the beginning of the traditional summer peak for passenger travel, and we are very pleased to see that demand has been strong. We continued to add back more capacity for our customers – 11% more compared with June – primarily on our North America, Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia services catering to the rising demand for visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and leisure travel. Long-haul flights both to and from Hong Kong were especially popular in the first half of the month among VFR travellers. Subsequently, with the start of the school holidays in mid-July, there was a substantial increase in demand for popular short-haul destinations around Asia. All this resulted in July having a near 90% load factor. Media Information

“While overall cargo demand in July remained at similar levels compared with June, e-commerce traffic continued to be a bright spot holding volumes up. Movement of seasonal fresh produce has also been active, contributing to good volume growth under our Cathay Fresh solution. All in all, cargo tonnage in July grew 4% month on month,” Lam said.

“Looking ahead, we expect that the strong travel demand seen in July will continue through the rest of the summer peak in August. We continue to make good progress in our journey to rebuild the Cathay Group and connectivity at our home hub and, as a Group comprising Cathay Pacific and HK Express, we are now close to 60% of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity levels. We are on track to achieve our target of 70% covering 80 destinations by the end of this year, and we are confident of reaching 100% by the end of 2024.

“On the customer experience side, we are delighted to again be welcoming guests to our lounge in Taipei. We were also very excited to provide customers with a brief glimpse of our all-new Business class experience, Aria Suite, which will be coming to our long-haul Boeing 777-300ER fleet in the second quarter of next year. We look forward to sharing more details with our customers in the coming months.

“On the cargo side, while we expect volumes to remain flat for the rest of the summer period, we anticipate demand will pick up from the end of the third quarter as we enter the traditional peak period for air cargo. Overall, we anticipate our cargo business will continue to perform solidly throughout the second half of 2023.”

As an additional update following the Group’s payment of the HK$1.5 billion deferred dividend on the HK$19.5 billion preference shares held by the Hong Kong SAR Government in June and announcement of its intention to pay all future preference shares dividends as they fall due, the Group has paid the latest dividend of HK$292.5 million due on the preference shares on 14 August 2023.

Singapore Airlines sees strong pax traffic in July
In July 2023, the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group continued to see strong passenger traffic and load factors across all route regions during the peak Northern summer travel season.

The SIA Group’s passenger capacity during the month was 28.1% higher year-on-year. SIA and Scoot carried a combined 3.0 million passengers (+45.1% year-on-year), while the Group passenger load factor (PLF) came in at 89.8% (+2.4 percentage points year-on-year). SIA posted a monthly PLF of 89.0%, while Scoot’s PLF of 92.7% marked the eighth consecutive month the airline’s load factor was above 90%.

Cargo operations posted a load factor of 52.4%, or 8.1 percentage points lower year-on-year. Cargo loads declined by 7.1% year-on-year due to weaker demand, while capacity expanded by 7.3% as increased passenger services resulted in higher bellyhold capacity.

Scoot resumed flights to Jinan and Shenzhen in July, while services to Gold Coast were suspended as the airline adjusted its capacity in response to demand. At the end of July 2023, the Group’s passenger network covered 117 destinations in 36 countries and territories. SIA served 74 destinations, while Scoot served 66 destinations. The cargo network comprised 123 destinations in 38 countries and territories.


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