Cathay Pacific Group today released combined Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon traffic figures for August 2019 that show decreases in the number of passengers carried, as protests in Hong Kong looked to have impacted figures.
Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flew 2,906,954 passengers last month – a drop of 11.3 per cent compared to August 2018. Passenger load factor decreased by 7.2 percentage points to 79.9 per cent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), rose by 5.1 per cent.
In the first eight months of 2019, the number of passengers carried grew by 2.2 per cent and capacity increased by 6.5 per cent, as compared to the same period for 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.”