Cathay Pacific's traffic figures for October continued their downward trend for the fourth straight month, as the carrier flagged "significant pressure" on its overall passenger yield.
As widespread unrest continues to rock the territory, the airline has also trimmed year-end capacity. From August to October, flight capacity has been cut by 2-4%. In November and December, capacity will be reduced even further, by 6-7% compared with original schedules.
Passenger load factor last month decreased four points year-on-year to 77.6%, but that figure is still marginally better than September's load factor of 73.6%.
Cathay and its subsidiary Cathay Dragon carried around 2.7 million passengers, a 7.1% decrease year-on-year. It was, however, a better showing than September's figure of 2.4 million.
Like the months preceding it, inbound traffic into Hong Kong remained weak. The Oneworld carrier notes a 35% decrease year-on-year. Outbound traffic fell 13%, while transit traffic via Hong Kong remained relatively stable.
Cathay Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam says premium class travel for October – traditionally a strong month – took a hard hit, with passenger volume showing a double-digit drop.
Mainland China routes also saw weakened demand, as tourists avoided coming to Hong Kong. Capacity from mainland China for the month fell 8.7%, contrasting with modest rises in other markets.
"Looking ahead, our advanced bookings continue to show weakness in both inbound and outbound Hong Kong traffic for the rest of 2019, partly offset by moderately increased transit passengers via Hong Kong," says Lam.
Reiterating earlier warnings that the carrier's second-half earnings will be "significantly below" those of the first half, Lam adds that the short-term outlook for the group's carriers will remain "challenging and uncertain".