Cathay Pacific free of pandemic shackles but still faces demand challenge

Source: Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific cargo volumes grew in March compared to a year earlier, thanks to increased capacity.

Cargo tonnage in March was up 25.3% compared with March 2022.

This increase was attributed to the easing of pandemic aircrew quarantine measures which had “significantly reduced” cargo capacity.

The airline has also benefited from increased belly cargo with the continued reintroduction of passenger flights, and freighter flights.

The month’s cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) increased 102.5% year-on-year. The cargo load factor decreased by 14.6 percentage points to 66.9%, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), increased by 146.7% year-on-year.

In the first three months of 2023, the tonnage increased by 35.6% against a 178.4% increase in capacity and a 128.1% increase in RFTKs, compared with the same period for 2022.

Cargo tonnage in March is also up on February, fuelled by e-commerce demand from Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland.

Chief customer and commercial officer Lavinia Lau said: “For our cargo business, tonnage carried in March saw double-digit growth of 17% over February as volumes recovered after the Lunar New Year holiday, and we operated an enhanced freighter schedule to capture expected demand.

“E-commerce shipments from Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland were the key drivers of growth; however, other regions remained relatively flat, reflecting the ongoing weaker demand for global airfreight.”

Looking towards the near future, she added: “Meanwhile on the cargo side, in April we expect that the Ching Ming Festival, Easter and Ramadan will dampen market demand. We will adjust our freighter capacity in an agile manner to reflect the demand picture, which remains variable but overall softer than prior periods.

“We are nevertheless continuing to expand market coverage for our customers, as the cargo belly space and network offered by our widebody passenger fleet continues to grow.”

Cathay Cargo remains positive in its outlook despite mixed signals

Cathay’s February cargo tonnage up as capacity is added

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]