Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific, Dragonair May passenger traffic up 1.8 pct yr-on-yr

Hong Kong (XFN-ASIA) - Cathay Pacific AirwaysLtd said it and

unit Dragonair carried a combined 1.83 mln passengers in May, up 1.8 pct from

the same month a year earlier.

However, the passenger load factor dipped by 0.1 percentage point to 75.1 pct in May this year, the airline said in a statement.

"May is generally one of the quieter months for passenger traffic so we were pleased to see the number of passengers carried staying ahead of the rise in capacity," Ian Shiu, the airline's general manager for revenue management, sales & distribution, said.

He said "demand in the front end remains buoyant and overall market sentiment is positive, so we are feeling pretty confident about our passenger business as we move into the summer peak."

Since January, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair have carried 9,076,795 passengers, up 1.2 pct from a year earlier, while capacity has grown by 1.7 pct.

The two airlines carried a combined 127,653 tons of cargo in May, up 1.5 pct over the same month a year earlier, according to the statement.

For the first five months of 2007, the tonnage eased by 0.8 pct against the same period last year, while capacity was up by 3.9 pct, the airline said.

"Air cargo is facing increasing competition from ocean cargo as a result of higher jet fuel prices. At the same time, freight rates are under pressure due to the influx of extra freighter capacity in the region," said Ron Mathison, Cathay's cargo general manager.
"Demand, however, is still growing strongly out of mainland China and into the Indian subcontinent, and we remain confident about the long-term growth prospects in Asia," he added.

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