Hong Kong national carrier Cathay Pacific has released its traffic figures for April 2023. On the face of it, the airline has demonstrated a speedy recovery in comparison to April 2022’s results.
With this in mind, this is great to see from the airline, considering Hong Kong had fallen behind considerably with its relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions.
Cathay reports that the wider group overall comprising of Cathay Pacific and HK Express have had a successful start to the year carrying almost 6 million passengers combined for the first 4 months of the year.
As for April on its own, Cathay Pacific carried a total of 1,381,073 passengers during the month, which represents a staggering 3,283% increase over April 2022.
Some other important statistics the airline reported on were its revenue passenger kilometres or RPK’s which increased by 3,139% year on year.
In addition, the average passenger load factor for the airline increased by 31.3% to 86.9% and its overall capacity (measured in available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 1,973%.
Stepping back to its results for the first 4 months of the year, the almost 6 million passengers the wider Cathay Group carried represented a massive 3,707% increase compared to 2022.
As for capacity in the same period, this increased by 2,116%, and RPKs increased by 3,989%.
Overall, given that all of the figures mentioned here showed an increase of greater than a 1000% per stat, the airline has had a monumental bounce back from its covid restricted days.
Travel summed up by the CCO
Lavinia Lau, Cathay Pacific’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) said “April was a busy month for our travel business as many of our customers looked to enjoy a getaway during the holiday period.”
“Passenger demand was especially strong over the Easter holiday in the early part of the month, and on 9 April, we recorded our highest number of passengers on a single day since the start of the pandemic, carrying 53,233 in total.”
“Meanwhile, we continued to increase our passenger flight capacity and add more frequencies to destinations in Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Japan. Demand for premium class seats has also been positive, driven by both corporate and leisure travel”.
She also added that the airline during the month of April was able to benefit off of other international events as far as passenger demand is concerned.
In other words, with Ramadan ending in mid-April, demand for Indonesia increased significantly. The airline catered for this, as well as with Labour Day and Golden Week taking place in mainland China, causing a surge in demand for Cathay’s routes in to China.
Despite passenger demand seeing significant increases during the month of April, the airline’s CCO couldn’t say the same about cargo demand stating that “overall tonnage in April was down 10% month on month”.
Due to this decrease the airline’s overall capacity decreased by 5% for April and overall 109,372 tonnes of cargo was carried.
However, considering the overall decrease, e-commerce demand reportedly remains consistent from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland across the airline’s network.
Outlook for May and beyond
With a successful April and subsequent first 4 months of the year at Cathay Pacific, the airline has high hopes for May and the rest of the year.
This hope will likely pay off with the peak summer season around the corner, Cathay is reportedly steadily increasing its flight capacity to match demand as the busy period looms closer.
Furthermore, Cathay is still yet to restart some old destinations this year, such as Johannesburg on the 1st August and its Chicago route on October 3rd.
As for Cargo, despite a drop in demand and capacity, the airline like its passenger demand is looking forward to an increase in this area as well as the year progresses.
Of course, Cathay will continually adjust its freighter network to meet demand to ensure maximum yield is achieved.
With all of this in mind, it seems Cathay is looking forward to a successful 2023 and it will be interesting to see how the rest of the year plays out.