Cathay Pacific and sister carrier Cathay Dragon continued to witness sliding passenger traffic figures, with inbound traffic for November falling a whopping 46% year-on-year.
This was a further slowdown compared to figures for October, which saw a 35% drop year-on-year.
The carrier continues to see decreases in passenger numbers in its latest traffic figures, amid weakened travel demand, and as it braces for capacity cuts in the new year.
For November, Cathay and Cathay Dragon carried about 2.62 million passengers, a 9% drop year-on-year. This was less than the 2.7 million passengers it carried in October.
Passenger load factor fell 3.2 percentage points to 80.1%, while ASKs fell 1.5%.
By market, Mainland China and Northeast Asia traffic remain weak, while demand to and from the United States before the Thanksgiving week — a traditionally strong period for premium class travel — was likewise lower.
Cathay Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam has flagged the “significant pressure” on the carrier’s yields.
Says Lam: “Our increasing reliance on transit Hong Kong traffic, which has been less impacted, together with intense competition has meant overall yield remained under significant pressure.”
He adds that the rest of the year will “remain incredibly challenging” and reiterated earlier comments that the carrier’s second-half financial results will be “significantly below” its first-half results.
Cathay will also be reducing seat capacity in the new year by 1.4% year-on-year, a move Lam states was “reluctantly made”. The carrier had originally targeted 3.1% growth for the new year.
“[This is] the first time in a long while our airlines will reduce in size,” Lam adds.
Cathay recently delayed the delivery of four Airbus A320neo family aircraft set for delivery to its HK Express and Cathay Dragon units. It also plans to bring forward the retirement of one Boeing 777-200ER and a Cathay Dragon A320ceo.