Cathay Pacific flies into a profit, boosted by robust cargo demand

posted on 15th March 2019 by Justin Burns

The Cathay Pacific Group has reported a vastly improved financial performance in 2018 as a restructuring plan initiated pays off and it said the cargo business benefited from “robust demand”.

Last year, cargo capacity increased by 2.6 per cent and the load factor for the year was 68.8 per cent, one percentage up on 2017. The cargo and mail yield was up 14.7 per cent to HK$2.03 while tonnage was up 4.7 per cent to 2.1 million tonnes. Group cargo revenue increased by 18.5 per cent to HK$28.3 billion (US$3.6 billion).

Overall last year, the group, which includes Cathay Pacific and low-cost arm Cathay Dragon, posted an attributable profit of HK$2.34 billion (US$299 million) for 2018, compared to a loss of HK$1.2 billion for 2017.

Cathay Pacific said trans-shipments from the Indian sub-continent, Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia were strong. E-commerce shipments from Asia were strong.  Exports of machinery and food from Europe and the Americas to Asia increased. It carried cargo to and from more places in Europe as it extended its belly network.

Cathay Pacific Group chairman, John Slosar said broadly benign economic conditions, the environment in which its airlines operated was “as ever difficult” in 2018 and “competition was intense, fuel prices increased and the US dollar strengthened”.

He added: “However, our transformation programme remains on track and had a positive impact. We focused on finding new sources of revenue, building our network and strengthening the Hong Kong hub, delivering more value to our customers and improving productivity and efficiency.”

At the end of 2018, Cathay Pacific acquired from DHL International the 40 per ccent shareholding in Air Hong Kong that it did not already own, with the result that Air Hong Kong became a wholly owned subsidiary. At the same time, a new 15-year block space agreement between Air Hong Kong and DHL International commenced.