BUSINESS Cathay Pacific Group reports 98% decline in passengers in September

BUSINESS

Cathay Pacific Group reports 98% decline in passengers in September

Global Times

13:22, October 20, 2020

Cathay Pacific aircraft line up on the tarmac at the Hong Kong International Airport on April 30 as airlines across the globe have cancelled flights and postponed or adjusted services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo: AFP)

Cathay Pacific Group on Monday released its combined traffic figures for September 2020, showing the impact brought by the epidemic. 

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a total of 47,061 passengers last month, a decrease of 98.1 percent compared to September 2019, and revenue from freight fell 30.4 percent year-on-year according to data sent to the Global Times on Monday.

Cargo demand has begun to ramp up across the network as the industry has entered the traditional peak season, and tonnage carried improved about 7 percent month-on-month, but that is still substantially below pre-COVID-19 levels, the group said. 

The company said it operates minimal capacity – just 9 percent in September – a marginal month-on-month increase from about 8 percent in August, despite the resumption of some services, and daily passenger numbers remained low, averaging just 1,568, while load factor sat at about 25 percent. 

The company said the data shows the airline’s substantial capacity reductions in response to significantly reduced demand as well as travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in place in Hong Kong and other markets amid the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

Cathay Pacific Group Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam predicted that they will be operating approximately 10 percent of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity for the rest of 2020 and under 50 percent for 2021.

The group said in August that its losses reached HK$9.86 billion in the first half of 2020, compared with a profit of HK$1.3 billion in the same period the previous year. Both Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon reported a post-tax loss of HK$7.3 billion in the first half of 2020, down from profit of HK$675 million in the first half of 2019.

The International Air Transport Association has since downgraded its full-year 2020 passenger traffic forecast to reflect a drop of 66 percent and does not anticipate passenger travel will return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024.

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