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Cathay Pacific releases May 2003 traffic figures

13 Jun 2003

Cathay Pacific Airways today released figures for the month of May 2003 that show the full impact of the atypical pneumonia outbreak on the airline's passenger traffic.

In May 2003, Cathay Pacific carried 243,976 passengers, down 74.9 per cent on the same month last year. The average number of passengers carried each day was approximately 7,800. By comparison, the airline carried a total of 915,741 passengers in March this year.

The passenger schedule was reduced by 45 per cent in May. Though it worked hard to maintain schedule integrity, the airline was forced to reduce flight frequencies to most destinations because of a sharp drop in passenger numbers. A total of 22 aircraft were temporarily parked by the end of the month.

Cargo traffic dampened a little in May, though the airline maintained its full freighter schedule throughout the month. A total of 64,401 tonnes of cargo was carried, down 9.6 per cent on the same month last year. The month's cargo load factor was 76.1 per cent, up 6.1 percentage points from May 2002.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management, Sales and Distribution Ian Shiu said: "The drop in passenger numbers we saw in April sharpened further in May. Forward bookings have shown some improvement since the World Health Organisation lifted its travel advisory for Hong Kong at the end of May. We are restoring around 170 flights a week by July in anticipation of increased demand over summer and to support government and travel industry initiatives to draw travellers back to Hong Kong. Unfortunately, front-end demand remains weak and yields are very low. We are still a long way from our break-even point."

Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Kenny Tang said: "We saw some drop-off in cargo demand in May. The slight reduction in cargo capacity in the belly holds of passenger aircraft was offset by an additional freighter service, which was mounted following the return of our last parked B747-200 freighter to the fleet. The increase in capacity due to passenger services being restored will leave us well equipped to cope with demand in the coming months."

TRAFFIC May 2003 % change
vs May 02
May 2003
May 2002
% change
RPK (000)
- Europe 274,742 -69.2%3,305,642 4,475,563 -26.1%
- Pacific and South Africa 563,914 -60.1% 6,759,924 7,630,991-11.4%
- North Asia 73,273 -87.5% 2,090,105 3,068,088 -31.9%
- South East Asia and Middle East 292,476 -64.0% 2,960,2734,009,188 -26.2%
RPK Total (000) 1,204,405 -67.5% 15,115,944 19,183,830 -21.2%
Pax carried 243,976 -74.9% 3,558,997 4,923,435 -27.7%
Cargo and mail tonne km (000) 402,138 -1.3%2,047,6111,955,358 4.7%
Freight carried (000 kg) 64,401 -9.6%342,393342,552 -0.0%
Number of flights 1,257 -43.0%10,04210,757 -6.6%

CAPACITY May 2003 % change
vs May 02
May 2003
May 2002
% change
ASK (000)
- Europe 666,671 -39.1%4,795,694 5,327,351 -10.0%
- Pacific and South Africa 1,272,8204 -30.8%10,154,2299,221,979 10.1%
- North Asia 289,119 -68.1% 3,720,2214,427,699 -16.0%
- South East Asia and Middle East 677,705 -40.4% 5,105,3775,571,162 -8.4%
ASK Total (000) 2,906,315 -41.6% 23,775,521 24,548,191 -3.1%
Passenger load factor 41.4% -32.9pt 63.6% 78.1% -14.6pt
Available cargo/mail tonne km (000) 528,324 -9.2%2,999,5512,784,685 7.7%
Cargo and mail load factor 76.1% 6.1pt 68.3% 70.2% -2pt
ATK(000) 804,732 -23.8% 5,261,155,120,177 2.8%

* AHK European routes are included in May 2002 figures and traffic statistics figures are restated for comparison purpose.