Trouble on the streets hits Cathay

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“Geopolitical tensions” affected Cathay Pacific’s cargo traffic in August, said the Hong Kong carrier in its latest monthly traffic statement.

In what group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam described as “an incredibly challenging month, both for Cathay Pacific and for Hong Kong”, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried 161,394 tonnes of cargo and mail, a drop of 14% compared to the same month last year. The cargo and mail load factor fell by 7.5 percentage points to 60.9%. Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 0.6% while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) dropped by 11.6%. In the first eight months of 2019, tonnage fell by 7.1% against a 0.8% increase in capacity and a 7.2% decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2018.

Lam said: “On the cargo side, our business continued to face headwinds. Tonnage further deteriorated month-on-month across all regions, driven in particular by slow demand over the holiday season in different parts of the world, the effects of tropical storms and disruptions at Hong Kong International Airport. Ongoing geopolitical tensions continued to affect overall market sentiment.”

Nevertheless,: “The outlook for September is slightly more positive and we expect to see demand progressively improve, driven by project shipments and the restocking of inventory as we enter the traditionally high-demand season.”

Passenger traffic on the two carriers dropped away by 11.3% to 2.9 million in August with load factor decreasing by 7.2 percentage points to 79.9%