After months of sluggish traffic, Cathay Pacific and wholly owned subsidiary Dragonair recorded an uptick in cargo volumes in September. The combined carriers transported 134,584 tonnes of freight and mail last month — a 2.4-percent, year-over-year, increase — despite curbing capacity by 0.3 percent, year-over-year.
Higher volumes or not, Cathay Pacific’s freight load factor slid in September, falling 2 percent, year-over-year, to 62.8 percent. Even so, this is slightly better than the cargo load factor the carrier posted in August: 61.9 percent.
Cathay Pacific’s cargo manager James Woodrow explained that the carrier’s improved September performance reflects a region-wide trend. “Demand out of key markets began to pick up from mid-September onward, helped by shipments of high-tech consumer products out of Mainland China and other manufacturing centers, such as Vietnam,” he said in a statement. Woodrow added that the brief holiday rush preceding Mainland China’s “National Day Golden Week” also boosted freight volumes.
Unfortunately, the spike may be short-lived. Woodrow said the market from Asia to Europe remains particularly weak, as supply continues to outstrip demand. From mid-October onward, Woodrow said Cathay Pacific will operate more freighters to Europe and the Americas, but he explained that the carrier will “still fall short of the number of freighters operated in the same period in 2010.”
Also falling short is Cathay Pacific and Dragonair’s tonnage from a nine-month perspective. The combined carriers saw freight volumes slide 8.3 percent, year-over-year, from January to December amid a 4.9-percent, year-over-year, capacity reduction.