HONG Kong's Cathay Pacific says its "cautiously optimistic" about a solid seasonal winter peak season for cargo, but expects it to be less pronounced that the one experienced last year due to the current global economic environment.
Cathay Pacific's chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam also pointed out that cross-border trucking services between Shenzhen and Hong Kong remains uncertain, and the airline will continue to monitor the situation closely and adapt accordingly.
Cathay Pacific is expected to operate a full freighter schedule in August to be complemented by regional cargo-only passenger flights and more belly capacity provided by additional passenger services. Long-haul cargo-only passenger flights will be limited.
The airline carried 100,714 tonnes of cargo in July, a decrease of 17.2 per cent compared to July 2021, and a 40.7 per cent decrease compared with the same period in 2019.
The month's cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) decreased 27.5 per cent year on year, and were down 42.6 per cent compared to July 2019. The cargo load factor decreased by 10.8 percentage points to 71 per cent, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 16.4 per cent year on year, was down by 48.9 per cent versus July 2019.
In the first seven months of 2022, the tonnage decreased by 6.6 per cent against a 28.3 per cent drop in capacity and a 34.2 per cent decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2021.
Mr Lam said: "Cargo demand remained flat in many of our key markets in July as we entered the traditionally quieter summer months for air cargo. Tonnage decreased month on month across most markets, reflecting reduced cargo flight capacity due to weather related cancellations as well as ongoing operational restrictions which impacted the July schedule.
"The major impact of these challenges was seen on our Indian and the Americas routes, whilst capacity on our European routes grew marginally."
Mr Lam added: "Overall, our cargo volumes dipped by about 4 per cent month on month against an approximately 7 per cent decrease in capacity. We operated 51 per cent of our pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity last month. Meanwhile, load factor was 71 per cent."
Cathay Pacific carried a total of 219,746 passengers in July month, an increase of 306.2 per cent compared to July 2021, but a 93.3 per cent decrease compared to the pre-pandemic level in July 2019.
"The a airline's passenger traffic figures continued to reflect the positive impact of further adjustments to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government's travel restrictions and quarantine requirements," Cathay Pacific said in a statement.