Cathay Pacific Airways today released traffic figures for the month of April 2003 that detail the sharp decline in passenger traffic following the outbreak of atypical pneumonia.
In April 2003, Cathay Pacific carried 340,691 passengers, or an average of just over 11,300 passengers a day, down 65.7 percent from the same month last year. The figure compares to 915,741 passengers carried in March 2003.
These figures have continued to soften and at present the airline is carrying approximately 7,000 passengers a day. It has cut scheduled passenger flights by about 45 percent and 16 aircraft have been temporarily parked to help adjust to the downturn in demand.
Cargo traffic remained stable in April and the airline`s freighter schedule has not changed. During April 2003, the airline carried 66,602 tonnes of cargo, down 3.9 percent from the same month last year. The month`s cargo load factor was 72.3 percent, up two percentage points from April 2002, and up by a similar margin from March this year.
Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management, Sales and Distribution Ian Shiu said: “Passenger numbers declined throughout April and continued to fall further in early May. Even with a heavily reduced schedule current passenger load factors are struggling in the 40 percent range. Bookings for the rest of May are no better and we do not expect the recovery, when it comes, to be either quick or strong.”
Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Kenny Tang said: “The freighter fleet is operating normally and, despite the reduced passenger schedule, we have been able to supply adequate belly hold space to meet cargo demand. The reactivation later this month of a B747-200 freighter that was parked in late 2001 gives us added confidence that we will have sufficient cargo capacity as we move into the peak season.”