Cathay Pacific opens 2024 with strong passenger traffic

A Cathay Pacific Airbus A320neo in flight.
Photo Credit: Cathay Group

Cathay Pacific, a leading airline in the Asia-Pacific region, has released its traffic figures for January 2024.

Overall, The Cathay Group, comprising Cathay Pacific and HK Express, carried over two million passengers during the month, and enters the year on a strong note with a considerable year-on-year uptick.

Analysis of the Numbers…

In January 2024, the Cathay Group, which includes Cathay Pacific and HK Express, recorded a significant uptick in passenger numbers compared to the same period last year.

With over two million passengers carried during the month, averaging more than 70,000 passengers per day, the airline demonstrated robust growth in passenger traffic.

Cathay Pacific alone carried 1,717,200 passengers, marking a notable increase of 66.4% from January 2023.

A Cathay Pacific A330 in flight.
Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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This surge in passenger numbers can be attributed to several factors, including the resumption of business travel following the holiday season and strong demand on Chinese Mainland routes.

Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau highlighted the exceptional performance of premium cabins on these routes, indicating a rebound in business travel demand.

Despite the increase in passengers, the passenger load factor saw a slight decline to 82.8%, while available seat kilometers surged by 64.2% year on year.

A Cathay Pacific Cargo Boeing 747 freighter aircraft on the ground.
Md Shaifuzzaman Ayon, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cargo Traffic Analysis

Alongside the growth in passenger traffic, Cathay Pacific also witnessed an uptick in cargo volumes during January 2024. The airline carried 114,790 tonnes of cargo, representing a substantial increase of 20.7% compared to the previous year.

This growth in cargo tonnage indicates a positive trajectory for the airline’s cargo operations, with strong demand observed across its network.

Despite the overall increase in cargo volumes, the cargo load factor experienced a slight decline to 58.6%, while available cargo tonne kilometers surged by 18.3% year on year.

Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau noted the softening of demand in January following the year-end peak period but highlighted the steady improvement in tonnage across the network, particularly in perishable shipments from the Southwest Pacific to Asia.

A Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 at the terminal.
Photo Credit: Cathay Pacific

Travel Insights

The analysis of Cathay Pacific’s traffic figures also provides valuable insights into travel trends and passenger preferences.

Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau emphasized the resilience of travel demand during the Lunar New Year period, with notable spikes in outbound and inbound travel from Hong Kong.

Additionally, strong demand was observed on routes to destinations such as Dubai, New York, and London, particularly for Christmas return traffic.

2024 Outlook

Looking ahead, Cathay Pacific anticipates continued growth in travel demand post-Lunar New Year, especially on long-haul routes.

Similarly, cargo demand is expected to remain steady, albeit with some easing following the peak holiday season.

Cathay Cargo’s role as the host airline for IATA’s World Cargo Symposium 2024 underscores the airline’s commitment to the air cargo industry and its leadership in driving innovation and collaboration within the sector.

In conclusion, Cathay Pacific’s traffic figures for January 2024 reflect a promising start to the year, with strong growth in both passenger and cargo traffic.

Despite challenges posed by the evolving global landscape, the airline remains optimistic about the outlook for the remainder of the year, buoyed by positive trends in travel and cargo demand.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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