Cathay Pacific Group said that recent events in Hong Kong did not substantially impact the passenger business, but it anticipates much more of an impact on revenue in August and onwards.
Anti-government protests and staff reportedly supporting the ongoing action, led to a major overhaul of the carrier’s senior management team in the last week, as CEO Rupert Hogg resigned and was replaced by Augustus Tang Kin-wing, while chief customer and commercial officer, Paul Loo also left, with Ronald Lam taking over.
Lam said: “Recent events in Hong Kong over the past two months did not substantially impact our passenger business in July; however, we anticipate a much more significant impact to our revenue in August and onwards.
“Traffic into Hong Kong, both business and leisure, has weakened substantially and we’ve also now seen ex-Hong Kong traffic starting to soften, especially on our short-haul network including mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and South East Asia.”
Lam added that in July, passenger demand was strong in the first half of the summer peak while load factors also remained high, especially India and Taiwan services, which have continued to perform well.
“As anticipated, however, yield remained under pressure due to intense competition and increasing transit passenger traffic, and our North America, Europe and mainland China routes underperformed as a result,” he said.
Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon combined, flew 3,278,742 passengers in July – an increase of four per cent compared to July 2018. The passenger load factor decreased by 0.6 percentage points to 86.1 per cent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), rose by 7.2 per cent.
In the first seven months of 2019, the number of passengers carried grew by 4.4 per cent while capacity increased by 6.7 per cent, as compared to the same period for 2018.