Cathay Pacific today released traffic figures for January 2006 that show a solid start to the year, boosted by a seasonal peak over the Chinese New Year holiday during which the airline operated 70 extra pairs of services to meet passenger demand.
Demand was strong to Australia and New Zealand, where it was the height of summer, and also to destinations within Southeast Asia – places that many leisure travellers avoided last year following the Indian Ocean tsunami. January’s passenger load factor was a high 80.4 percent, a rise of 0.8 percentage points.
The airline carried 91,366 tonnes of cargo in January, a 21.9 percent rise over the same month in 2005. A boost to shipments is normal during the run-up to the Chinese New Year. At the same time there was a 14.4 percent increase in capacity, measured in terms of available cargo/mail tonne kilometres. Two additional freighters have joined the fleet in the past year and new services commenced to Shanghai, Dallas and Atlanta.
The cargo load factor was 61.9 percent – a reflection of the fact that far more goods are being exported from southern China through Hong Kong than are being imported from the United States and Europe.
Fuel prices remained high. Their full impact in 2005 will be revealed when the company issues its Annual Results for the year on 8 March.
Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management, Sales & Distribution Ian Shiu said: “Business over the Chinese New Year was good considering it fell so close to Christmas. Although loads have been high, stiff competition on many key routes and a strengthening of the US dollar against foreign currencies depressed yield. “
Cathay Pacific Director & General Manager Cargo Ron Mathison said: “Cargo growth in January got a boost from the pre-holiday peak, the addition of two freighters and new services to the US and Shanghai, which were not in place this time last year. Yet underlying demand is spiky and somewhat unpredictable with continued uncertainty over the imposition of quotas on Chinese-made garments in Europe and the US. Business will likely be weaker in February.”
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