July airfreight operations were down significantly for Cathay Pacific and wholly owned subsidiary Dragonair, with year-over-year volumes decreasing by a combined 9.4 percent. Airline officials attribute much of this decline to sluggish cargo volumes out of Hong Kong and Mainland China.
Cathay Pacific and Dragonair transported 140,050 tonnes of airfreight in July, an 8.6-percent drop from July 2010. Cargo load factor also fell considerably in the month in question, plummeting 9.4 percentage points to 66 percent. This loss was only compounded by cargo capacity, which was up 4.2 percent in July, Cathay Pacific officials reveal.
These numbers tell a very different story than Cathay Pacific’s mid-year results, which show a 7.7-percent, year-over-year increase in cargo revenue. Still, the carrier wasn’t immune to challenges: Yield rose 7.7 percent when compared with the first six months of 2010, but capacity outpaced it with 14.6-percent growth.
Despite these numbers, Cathay Pacific representatives remain optimistic about their cargo operations and cite initiatives to spur business. In addition to modernizing its fleet with a combination of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, the Asian carrier is also constructing an HK$5.5 billion cargo terminal at Hong Kong International Airport. The terminal is slated for completion in 2013.
Such initiatives will go a long way in positioning the carrier for success, Cathay Pacific’s general manager of cargo sales and marketing James Woodrow projects. He also points to Cathay’s expanded reach and success in markets outside of Asia as signs of good things to come.
“India routes continued to perform well and the new service to Bengaluru, which launched on August 1, got off to a solid start,” Woodrow said in statement. “We expect the markets to remain soft through to mid-September. However, our long-term confidence in Hong Kong as an airfreight hub was confirmed by our order for eight new Boeing 777-200 freighters.”