Cathay expands despite cargo drop

CATHAY Pacific Airways is forging ahead with its plans to expand air cargo services to India despite revealing its freight tonnage fell 10.7 per cent in March, compared with last year.

The airline is launching a twice-weekly freighter service to Hyderabad and adding a third weekly flight to Bangalore, from 17 May.

The Hyderabad service will operate on a Hong Kong (China) –Delhi- Bangalore-Hyderabad-Hong Kong route on Thursdays and a Hong Kong-Chennai-Hyderabad-Hong Kong route on Sundays, it reveals.

The third weekly flight to Bangalore will operate via Mumbai on Saturdays, in addition to the current flights every Monday and Thursday.

“Hyderabad is one of the major hubs for the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals in India, accounting for around one-third of the country’s drug production,” says Cathay’s cargo director Nick Rhodes.

The carrier and Dragonair carried 144,140 metric tonnes of cargo and mail last month. Their load factor dropped by 2.7 percentage points to 68.3 per cent.

Capacity decreased by 2.9 per cent, while cargo and mail flown dropped by 6.7 per cent.

For the first quarter, tonnage declined by 10.5 per cent with capacity down by 2.1 per cent.

James Woodrow, Cathay’s cargo sales and marketing general manager, was positive about the latest results: “March was the strongest month of the year so far for our cargo business.

“This was thanks to large shipments of hi-tech consumer products from China to key markets around the world combined with capacity reductions by both Cathay Pacific and our competitors.

“However, the general market for air freight remains soft, particularly into Europe.
“We expect business to be weaker in April and we will continue to reduce capacity as necessary.”

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