Covid restrictions continue to impact Cathay Pacific’s cargo volumes

Photo: Cathay Pacific

Pandemic containment measures in China have continued to impact Cathay Pacific’s cargo volumes while European network expansion has softened the blow.

Although travel restrictions and quarantine requirements have now eased in Hong Kong, it is still impacted by China’s Covid policy.

Chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said: “In terms of cargo, global economic headwinds and anti-pandemic measures on the Chinese Mainland continue to impact trade flows and production. While our tonnage carried fell in October year-on-year compared with the high base of 2021, it saw a 5% increase over September.”

The airline carried 109,425 tonnes of cargo last month, a decrease of 20.1% compared with October 2021 and a 40.2% decrease compared with the same period in 2019.

In September, the airline carried 104,055 tonnes of cargo.

Lam added: “We operated about 10% less cargo capacity compared with the same time last year as we flew fewer cargo-only passenger services. Overall, we operated about 63% of our pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity last month.

“Our expanded network in Europe was a bright spot with double-digit month-on-month growth in October as we resumed more of our passenger services. This provided our cargo customers with more options, especially for specialised shipments such as pharmaceuticals.”

The month’s cargo revenue tonne kms (RFTKs) decreased 25% year on year, and were down 36.2% compared with October 2019. The cargo load factor decreased by 13.9 percentage points to 69%, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kms (AFTKs), was down by 9.9% year on year, and was down by 37.2% versus October 2019.

In the first 10 months of 2022, the tonnage decreased by 11.1% against a 21.9% decrease in capacity and a 30.9% decrease in RFTKs, as compared with the same period for 2021.

Looking ahead, Lam said that e-commerce and perishables are anticipated to drive volumes, despite an expected subdued peak season.

“Regarding cargo, while the peak season this year will be subdued when compared to the unprecedented peak last year, we still expect to see increased tonnage driven by seasonal e-commerce events as well as the start of the perishables season in the Southern Hemisphere.

“As the belly capacity provided by our passenger flights increases over the months ahead, we are extending the reach of our network and increasing the choice of schedules for our air cargo customers.”

Cathay Pacific remains positive on cargo despite latest decline

Cathay Pacific claws back capacity amid flat demand


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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]