March proved to be yet another month of weak traffic figures for Cathay Pacific, which states that it is “impossible to predict” when passenger demand will recover from the coronavirus crisis.

Commenting on its traffic results for March, Cathay adds that it is not seeing any improvement so far in passenger bookings and anticipates carrying less than 1,000 passengers a day in April.

This is significantly lower than the 100,000 passengers it used to carry daily.

For the month of March, Cathay and Cathay Dragon carried just over 311,000 passengers, a 90% decrease year-on-year.

RPKs dropped 84.3%, while ASKs fell 73.2%, both led by deep cuts to mainland China and Northeast Asia. Overall passenger load factor for the month tumbled 34.6 percentage points to 49.3%.

Cathay group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam says: “Passenger demand dropped rapidly and tremendously in late March following the introduction of arrival restrictions on all non-resident visitors to Hong Kong, including transit passengers. On each of the last two days of March we carried fewer than 1,000 passengers only.”

The reduction in passenger flight capacity has had a knock-on effect on Cathay’s cargo traffic results, Lam adds.

The carrier saw cargo volumes for the month dip 35.6%, but load factor and yield went up because of reduced air cargo capacity in the global market.

In its outlook, the carrier says it will maintain its “bare skeleton” schedule into May, operating at just 3% of regular capacity.

Adds Lam: “We are doing everything we can to reduce our expenditure and preserve cash for the coming months.”