Cathay Pacific and HK Express have exceeded expectations, surpassing the 9,000-passenger flight sector milestone in October 2023.
This is the first time that the monthly flight sector count has exceeded that number since the start of the global pandemic.
Cathay Pacific witnessed a substantial surge, carrying a total of 1,684,700 passengers in October 2023, an impressive 320.2% increase compared to the same period in 2022. The month’s revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) experienced a staggering 225.8% year-on-year increase.
The passenger load factor surged by 11.1 percentage points to an impressive 84.7%, while available seat kilometers (ASKs) witnessed a robust 183.1% year-on-year increase. These figures underscore the airline’s resilience and determination to bounce back.
In the initial ten months of 2023, the number of passengers carried skyrocketed by an astonishing 887.4%, outpacing the 461.5% increase in ASKs and a 608.7% surge in RPKs compared to the same period in 2022.
Cargo operations also witnessed a commendable uptick, with Cathay Cargo carrying 124,469 tonnes of cargo in October 2023, marking a 13.7% increase compared to October 2022.
Despite a decrease of 8.3 percentage points in cargo load factor, the month’s cargo revenue tonne kilometers (RFTKs) experienced a robust 10.6% year-on-year increase.
In the first ten months of 2023, the tonnage surged by 19.4%, outstripping the 69.9% increase in available cargo tonne kilometers (AFTKs) and a 47.6% increase in RFTKs compared to the same period in 2022.
Insights from Leadership
Lavinia Lau, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, remarked on the positive trends, stating, “Our travel business continued to see good demand in October.”
Lau highlighted the shift in passenger mix, with a decline in student traffic offset by increased business travel.
The resumption of the Chicago service and the Chung Yeung Festival long weekend in Hong Kong contributed to a diverse range of travel demands.
Air cargo demand strengthened across the network, particularly on transpacific trade lanes. Lau mentioned, “Air cargo demand continued to strengthen across the network in October.”
Lau attributed this growth to the year-end peak period and the influence of major sales events such as ‘Singles’ Day’ and ‘Black Friday.’
The Path Forward
Looking ahead, Lau expressed optimism about achieving the 2023 rebuild target, projecting to operate 70% of pre-pandemic passenger flights covering about 80 destinations by December 2023.
The focus remains on facilitating travel to and from Hong Kong, with a projected return to 95% of pre-pandemic passenger numbers by the end of 2023.
In 2024, Cathay Pacific aims to fully rebuild its flights, navigating challenges in the global aviation industry.
Despite constraints, the airline remains resilient, leveraging the Hong Kong SAR Government’s Labor Importation Scheme for the Aviation Industry and implementing targeted approaches to overcome obstacles.
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