Cathay Pacific today released its traffic figures for November 2021 that continued to reflect the airline’s substantial capacity reductions in response to significantly reduced demand as well as travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in place in Hong Kong and other markets amid the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.
The airline carried 135,350 tonnes of cargo last month, an increase of 15.8% compared to November 2020, but a 23.9% decrease compared with the same period in 2019.
The month’s cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) rose 15.5% year-on-year, but were down 14% compared to November 2019.
The cargo load factor increased by 4.3 percentage points to 82.6%, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was up by 9.5% year-on-year, but was down 28.6% versus November 2019.
In the first 11 months of 2021, the tonnage decreased by 1.1% against a 12.5% drop in capacity and a 2.3% decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2020.
Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said: “November delivered an exceptionally strong cargo peak period, as expected.
“Air cargo demand was consistently robust across our markets. In addition to underlying air cargo demand remaining strong, we also carried products that would usually be shipped by sea as retailers looked to replenish low inventories to meet customer demand.
“Inbound demand to our hub was also healthy as seasonal products, such as Beaujolais wine from France to Japan and cherries from the Southern Hemisphere to Asia, were shipped throughout the month.
“To provide more capacity for our customers, we managed to operate approximately 71% of our pre-pandemic cargo capacity compared to November 2019, which was the highest level since the onset of the pandemic.
“We operated a record-high 1,035 pairs of cargo-only passenger flights. We re-commenced our seasonal cargo service between Hobart and Hong Kong towards the end of November, providing an opportunity for Tasmanian producers to easily access key Asian markets directly.
“We also launched our new digital cargo-booking platform, Click & Ship, which is being progressively rolled out across our network.
“The platform promises booking transparency and speed, enabling customers to view prices and capacity, and book cargo shipments with instant confirmation”.
“As we approach the end of 2021, we continue to face significant challenges, especially for our travel business.
“The emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant has had an impact on sentiment for travel over the holiday season.
“Furthermore, our ability to operate flights as planned remains affected in light of the latest travel restrictions, including the Hong Kong SAR Government’s tightening of quarantine requirements for many of our major markets and the subsequent operational constraints.
“As such, we adjusted our flight schedule for December and we aim to operate no more than 12% of our pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity for the rest of the month.
“We continue to closely monitor developments as we review our passenger flight schedule for January and beyond.
“Looking ahead on the cargo side, the strong peak season is expected to last well into December.
“We expect to operate our full freighter schedule as planned for the rest of the month.
“Nevertheless, we continue to face operational challenges and we remain agile in planning our cargo flight schedule.”