Cathay Pacific releases October 2022 traffic figures: +425% vs. 2021, but -85% vs. 2019

Cathay Pacific today released its October 2022 traffic figures, which continue to reflect the positive impact of further adjustments to Hong Kong SAR government travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.

Cathay Pacific carried a total of 400,909 passengers last month, up 424.5% from October 2021 but down 85.4% from pre-pandemic levels in October 2019. year-on-year, but 80.1% lower than October 2019. Seat load factor increased 44 percentage points to 73.6%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometers (ASKs), increased 108% year-on-year, but by 79% decreased compared to October 2019 values. In the first 10 months of 2022, the number of passengers carried increased by 166% against a 20.4% increase in capacity and a 167.8% increase in RPKs compared to same period of 2021.

The airline carried 109,425 tons of cargo last month, down 20.1% from October 2021 and down 40.2% from the same period in 2019, down 36.2% from October 2019 . Cargo load factor decreased 13.9 percentage points to 69%, while capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), decreased 9.9% year-on-year and was down 37.2% from October 2019. In the first 10 months of 2022, tonnage decreased by 11.1% versus a 21.9% decrease in capacity and a 30.9% decrease in RFTKs compared to the same period for 2021.


Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said: “After the Hong Kong SAR government lifted quarantine requirements for travelers arriving from Hong Kong at the end of September, travel sentiment from Hong Kong improved significantly in October. Demand in the first half of October came mainly from flights to Bangkok, Singapore and Seoul. We then saw an increase in demand for travel to Japan as quarantine requirements were eased for arrivals on October 11th.

“We increased our regional flight frequencies in October, particularly to destinations in Japan. We also resumed flights to Madrid, Milan, Bengaluru, Dubai and Kathmandu last month. More destinations and higher frequencies meant more choice and better connectivity for our Hong Kong air hub customers.

“Overall, October passenger flight capacity increased by 32% over September and we were operating 21% of our pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity. Passenger numbers rose to nearly 13,000 per day from over 8,800 in September, and load factors reached about 74%.”


In terms of cargo, global economic headwinds and anti-pandemic measures in mainland China continue to affect trade flows and production. While our tonnage carried in October was down year-on-year compared to the high 2021 base, it was up 5% from September. We operated about 10% less cargo capacity compared to the same time last year as we flew less pure cargo-passenger services. Overall, we operated approximately 63% of our pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity in the past month.

“Our expanded network in Europe was a bright spot with double-digit monthly growth in October as we resumed more of our passenger services. This gave our freight customers more options, especially for specialty shipments such as pharmaceuticals.


Looking ahead to the rest of 2022, Mr Lam said: “The group has already announced the addition of approximately 3,000 passenger flight sectors from October through the end of December this year and is on track to meet its goal of operating up to a third of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity by the end of 2022. Travel demand for the remainder of the year Year 2022 continues to improve and is promising for the Christmas holidays.

“In terms of freight, while the peak season this year will be subdued compared to the unprecedented peak last year, we still expect tonnage to increase, driven by seasonal e-commerce events as well as the start of the perishables season in the United States southern hemisphere. As our passenger flight capacity increases in the coming months, we are expanding the reach of our network and increasing the choice of flight schedules for our air cargo customers.

“Earlier this year we said that we aim to be cash generating by August. Since then, further adjustments to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements have come into force in Hong Kong. As such, we now expect the second half of 2022 to be strong overall.

“At the same time, our results for our airlines and subsidiaries for the second half of 2022 are expected to show a significant improvement over our results for the first half of 2022, although still representing a loss for the full year 2022 overall. However, results from associates, most of which are three months in arrears and some of which have already been announced, will include significant losses. As a result, a significant loss for the Group, including airlines, subsidiaries and associates, is expected for the full year 2022.

Looking ahead, Mr Lam said: “Earlier this week, the group — comprised of passenger airlines Cathay Pacific and HK Express — said it expects to operate around 70% of its pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity by the end of 2023, with a goal of returning to pre-pandemic levels by the end 2024, ahead of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Asia-Pacific traffic forecast. We look forward to being a positive driving force behind the revitalization of Hong Kong’s status as an international aviation hub.

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