Cathay's traffic in May falls 7%

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Cathay Pacific Airways in May posted a 7% fall in traffic, a sign that the global economic downturn is still biting.

The Oneworld carrier says in a statement that RPKs in May fell 7% and ASKs dropped 5% leading the passenger load factor to fall 1.6 percentage points to 75.8%. Cathay's figures include those of its subsidiary Dragonair.

In real terms, passenger numbers fell 8% to 1.95 million and cargo fell 13% to 122,000t.

"May is traditionally one of the weaker months for our passenger business but this year demand was dampened further by a combination of factors," Cathay general manager revenue management Tom Owen says in the statement.

"The global economic downturn continued to impact on our business with lower numbers in economy cabins while the big slump in premium traffic continued unabated."

"We also saw the H1N1 outbreak lead to a sharp drop-off in traffic to and from Japan" and "passengers in Hong Kong and other key markets showed an increased reluctance to travel."

Cathay general manager cargo sales and marketing, Titus Diu, says there are signs the cargo market has bottomed but "there is no indication of any significant upswing in demand arriving soon."