Cathay Pacific passenger numbers down 2.9pc in October on soft demand, typhoon impact

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 6:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 10:43pm

Cathay Pacific Airways said passenger numbers declined in October amid soft demand from the US and other key markets and after Typhoon Haima forced the cancellation of more than 200 flights.

The Hong Kong-based airline and its subsidiary Dragonair carried a total of 2.76 million passengers last month, down 2.9 per cent year on year. The passenger load factor, a measure of capacity utilisation, dropped by 2.6 percentage points to 81.5 per cent.

In the first 10 months of 2016 the number of passengers carried rose 1.3 per cent compared to a 3 per cent increase in capacity.

“The decrease in passenger traffic during October was partly caused by Typhoon Haima, resulting in the cancellation of over 200 flights and softer demand from the USA and other key sales areas,” said Patricia Hwang, Cathay Pacific’s general manager for revenue management . “A drop in overall passenger volumes is a worrying trend, as is the fact that booking growth is failing to keep pace with the increase in capacity. Yield continues to come under intense pressure due to excess capacity in the market.”

For cargo and mail, the two airlines carried 172,385 tonnes in October, an increase of 5.3 per cent compared to the same month last year. The cargo and mail load factor rose by 1.6 percentage points to 68.1 per cent.

Overall cargo demand in October was fairly strong and tonnage continued to grow
Mark Sutch, Cathay Pacific’s general manager, cargo sales and marketing.

“Overall cargo demand in October was fairly strong and tonnage continued to grow,” said Mark Sutch, Cathay Pacific’s general manager of cargo sales and marketing. “We had some negative impact on our forecasts during the month from typhoon disruptions and unscheduled aircraft maintenance but overall exports from Europe, Asia and mainland China were robust.”

In October, three major Chinese airlines reported positive operating data.

China Eastern Airlines said it carried approximately 8.95 million passengers last month, up 8.1 per cent from a year earlier, as robust domestic and international routes offset a 3.3 per cent slide in regional routes to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. In October this year China Eastern Airlines introduced six aircraft and retired four.

China Southern Airlines saw the number of passengers carried rise 7.06 per cent year on year to 10.22 million. Although passengers on regional routes fell 20.46 per cent from a year earlier to 177,980, the figures for domestic and international routes rose 7.89 per cent and 6.36 per cent respectively.

At the end of October the company operated a fleet of 699 aircraft with 250 aircraft self-owned, 203 under leasing finance and 246 under operating leases.

Air China reported its passenger numbers rose 7.3 per cent year on year to 8.5 million, with an 8.2 per cent increase in domestic passengers and an 8.5 per cent rise for long-haul routes that offset a decrease of 10.8 per cent on regional routes.