Cathay Pacific reveals sobering January traffic stats

The flag carrier’s load factor dropped to just 13% during the month as it continues to deal with travel restrictions and quarantine requirements

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific carried an average of just 981 passengers per day last month, amid continued suppression of demand caused by ongoing travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in the country and the key markets it serves. 

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Photo Aviation Image Network/BaoLuo

The flag carrier says it carried a total of 30,410 passengers in January, a decrease of 99% compared with the same month in 2020.  

Ronald Lam, Cathay Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer, commented: “2021 has already got off to a difficult start. Many of the challenges of 2020 continued into January while a number of new ones have also emerged, most notably new COVID-19 strains and more severe lockdowns in some of our key markets. 

Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory
Photo Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory

“Our January capacity decreased by about 6% compared to December 2020. This was largely due to the Hong Kong SAR Government's ongoing ban on flights arriving from the UK. We only resumed flying passengers from Hong Kong to London in mid-January, operating just five such flights over the remainder of the month. 

Apart from a few pockets of intra-Asia demand, the overall need remained very weak. The operator carried an average of just 981 passengers per day in January, the first time this number has dipped below 1,000 since June last year, while load factor was the lowest on record at just 13.3%. 

Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory
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During the same period, Cathay carried 108,930 tonnes of cargo and mail, a decrease of 28.3% compared to January 2020. 

The cargo and mail load factor increased by around 19 percentage points to 79.4%, while capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 40.7%.