Cathay Pacific sees significant increase in passengers and cargo in June

A Cathay Pacific Airbus climbs out after takeoff.
Vismay Bhadra, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cathay Pacific has announced its traffic figures for June 2023, showing remarkable growth in both passenger numbers and cargo volume.

The Hong Kong-based airline notably carried the highest number of passengers in a single day since the start of the pandemic, marking the continued demand at the Hong Kong international aviation hub.

Impressive passenger statistics

In June 2023, Cathay Pacific transported a total of 1,548,571 passengers, marking an impressive increase of 931.9% compared to the same month in 2022. The revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) also surged by 527.9% year on year.

The passenger load factor experienced a substantial rise of 20.7 percentage points, reaching 87.7%. Furthermore, the airline witnessed a significant growth of 379.6% in capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), compared to the previous year.

The positive trend in passenger growth extends to the first half of 2023, with a staggering 2,230% increase in the number of passengers carried.

This is in contrast to a 1,111% rise in capacity and a 1,685% increase in RPKs, compared to the same period in 2022.

Cargo volume maintains steady growth

Cathay Pacific’s cargo operations also experienced steady growth in June 2023. The airline transported a total of 111,210 tonnes of cargo, showing a 6.4% increase compared to June 2022. The cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) saw a year-on-year increase of 16.3%.

However, the cargo load factor witnessed a decrease of 6.7 percentage points, settling at 61.7%. Despite this, capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), demonstrated a significant rise of 29% compared to the previous year.

Similar to the passenger segment, Cathay Pacific’s cargo operations observed notable growth during the first half of 2023.

The tonnage increased by 23.8% compared to the same period in 2022. Additionally, capacity experienced a substantial increase of 117.6%, while RFTKs rose by 83%.

Statement from Chief Customer and Commercial Officer

Lavinia Lau, the Chief Customer and Commercial Officer of Cathay Pacific, expressed satisfaction with the airline’s performance in June.

Lau highlighted the achievement of surpassing the 60,000 mark for passengers carried in a single day on June 25th, marking the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

To meet the strong demand for travel, Cathay Pacific has been continuously increasing capacity and flight frequencies.

Lau further mentioned that long-haul routes, particularly those popular among students such as North America, the UK, and Australasia, experienced significant demand.

Flights to Hong Kong maintained high load factors, averaging around 90%. As a result, the overall passenger load factor for June reached an impressive 87.7%.

Cargo highlights

Regarding cargo operations, Lau acknowledged that the summer season tends to be a slower period. However, e-commerce remained a bright spot, playing a crucial role in maintaining cargo volumes.

Lau mentioned the recent launch of Cathay Pacific’s new Cathay Cargo brand campaign, called ‘We Know How.’

This campaign focuses on highlighting the airline’s tailored cargo solutions and services, emphasizing the efficiency, expertise, and reliability demonstrated by their employees in handling shipments.

Cathay Pacific has also made significant investments in its special solutions, as both Cathay Cargo and the Cathay Cargo Terminal obtained the prestigious IATA Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Lithium Batteries certification in the previous month.

This certification further enhances the airline’s competence in handling and transporting lithium battery shipments, ensuring adherence to the highest industry standards.

Future outlook

Looking ahead, Cathay Pacific expects an encouraging outlook for July and August in the travel sector. As the airline continues to add more flights, it plans to reopen additional lounges for premium passengers.

The Vancouver lounge was already reopened in June, and the final lounge in Hong Kong, The Pier, First, is scheduled to reopen next week. Passengers can also anticipate the reopening of lounges in Taipei and San Francisco in the near future.

While cargo demand is expected to remain relatively flat during the summer period, Cathay Pacific is already preparing for an anticipated increase in demand during the latter part of the third quarter.

The airline plans to operate additional capacity on key transpacific routes to cater to this expected surge.

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