Dragonair makes Q1 gains

More than 1,234,000 passengers flew with Dragonair between January and March 2006 than in the same period in 2005, representing a 10.7% increase.Cargo volumes, meanwhile, registered an 8.1% rise year-on-year in the three months.

“Our figures for the first three months of 2006 were underpinned by a strong March, which saw a 13.3% month-on-month rise in the number of passengers travelling with us,” said CEO Stanley Hui. “Both individual traveller and group numbers were higher.”

The airline flew 444,183 passengers in March 2006, up 10.4% from the 402,313 who travelled in the same month last year.

“At the end of March we introduced our summer schedule, which always sees an expanded timetable, and so we expect the upward trend to continue going forward,” Mr. Hui said. “This will be helped by the continued expansion of the Individual Travel Scheme on the Mainland, with new destinations expected to be added in the middle of this year.”

Since the implementation of the Individual Travel Scheme in July 2003, more than 11 million China Mainland residents have visited Hong Kong. The scheme currently covers 38 Mainland cities.

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March also saw a rise in cargo volume, up 46.9% on the previous month and 6.6% on a year earlier.

“We carried the second-highest amount of cargo in our history in March, at 36,262 tonnes,” said Mr. Hui. “The rise was a reflection of the return to normal of manufacturing and trading activity after the Chinese New Year holidays in the previous months.”

He continued, “Meanwhile, fuel prices have kept on rising to new highs, resulting in further bottom-line pressure. This, combined with a more open market and more competition, is making the operating environment very difficult at present despite the better passenger and cargo numbers.”
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