KARACHI: Cathay Pacific Airways on Tuesday released combined Cathay Pacific and Dragonair traffic figures for March 2014 that show passenger numbers increasing compared to last year, but failing to keep pace with the capacity rise, while a double-digit increase in cargo and mail tonnage was recorded.
Cathay Pacific and Dragonair carried a total of 2,600,590 passengers in March – an increase of 2.0% compared to the same month last year. The passenger load factor fell by 1.1 percentage points to 82.3%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 5.7%. In the first quarter of 2014, the passenger volume rose by 4.3% compared to a 4.0% increase in capacity.
The two airlines carried 155,352 tonnes of cargo and mail in March, an increase of 13.8% compared to the same month last year. The cargo and mail load factor rose by 0.3 percentage points to 66.7%. Capacity, measured in available cargo/mail tonne kilometres, rose by 18.8% while cargo and mail revenue tonne kilometres flown were up by 19.3%. In the first quarter of 2014, tonnage rose by 3.9% against a capacity increase of 9.2%.
Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management James Tong said: “We saw a significant increase in capacity in March with new services beginning to Newark in the USA and Doha in the Middle East. The number of passengers we carried saw a year-on-year increase but the picture was distorted by the Easter peak beginning in March in 2013. This year, March is sandwiched in between holiday peaks in February and April, which had an impact on leisure travel in the region. Demand in the premium cabins was in line with expectations, though yield was under pressure in all classes of travel.”
Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing Mark Sutch said: “After a poor start to the year in January and February, our cargo business benefited from a significant upsurge in traffic last month. There was a strong pick-up in demand out of both Hong Kong and Mainland China and we were able to operate close to a full freighter schedule for much of the month along with a number of extra sectors. There was strong demand to and from the USA and we launched another destination, Columbus, Ohio, during the month. Our recently launched services to Guadalajara and Mexico City also saw healthy loads.”