Cathay’s China cargo dives after upbeat January start

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The Cathay Pacific Group carried 151,964 tonnes of cargo and mail in January, a decrease of 8.9 per cent compared to the same month last year.

Cathay Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam notes that this was, “the most challenging Chinese New Year period,” the carrier has experienced, as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak in mainland China.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon together reported a cargo and mail load factor down by 1.4 percentage points to 60.2 per cent.

Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 3.2 per cent while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) decreased by
5.4 per cent.

“We saw reasonably solid demand across our network for the first three weeks of January,” Lam says of the group’s cargo business. “Our mainland China point of sales particularly stood out, recording year-on-year tonnage growth. By the last week of January, however, overall demand plummeted as manufacturing came to a halt in mainland China during the Chinese New Year holiday.

“The delay of the post-Chinese New Year resumption of manufacturing across mainland China has significantly affected both our Hong Kong and mainland China markets. However, demand elsewhere across our network remains buoyant, especially on trade lanes that have seen significant reductions in passenger capacity,” Lam adds.

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