Cathay Pacific today released traffic figures for February 2006 that show passenger numbers increased over the same month last year, while cargo got off to a slow start following the Chinese New Year holiday.
As with January, the shifting date of the Chinese New Year holiday makes a direct year-on-year comparison difficult. February’s passenger growth dipped marginally behind the increase in capacity, measured in terms of available seat kilometres, or ASKs, which was up by 9.6 percent. Yet over the first two months of the year the passenger growth of 12.1 percent was comfortably ahead of capacity growth of 10.5 percent.
The airline carried 86,705 tonnes of cargo in February, up 18.1 percent on the same month last year, ahead of a corresponding 5.4 percent increase in capacity, measured in terms of available cargo/mail tonne kilometres. February’s cargo load factor was 68 percent, reflecting continued directional imbalances as far more goods were shipped from Southern China through Hong Kong than were imported from markets such as the United States, Europe and Australia.
More passenger flights are planned. From April the airline will operate three non-stop flights each week to Penang. Three more weekly flights will operate to Paris and Frankfurt, taking both to 10 services a week. Four more weekly services will operate to Denpasar and two more to Cebu during the peak season, and another two weekly services will operate to Adelaide from June.
Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management, Sales & Distribution Ian Shiu said: “Business in February was quite solid. Front-end traffic remained robust, though strong competition and aggressive pricing is depressing yield for sales in the back end of the aircraft. Currency movements resulting from the strong US dollar are also working against us.”
Cathay Pacific Director & General Manager Cargo Ron Mathison said: “The market saw a very slow recovery after Chinese New Year with orders for new stock coming in later than usual. A lingering uncertainty and nervousness regarding the trade imbalance is putting pressure on yields. While demand for exports out of China appears to be strong there is over-capacity on the return lanes from the US and Europe, resulting in further yield erosion.”
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