Cathay Pacific Airways today released traffic figures for the month of June 2003 that show passenger numbers started to increase after the World Health Organisation (WHO) lifted its travel advisory against Hong Kong and ultimately removed the city from its list of SARS-affected areas. Even so, the airline still carried less than half the number of people it did the same month a year ago.
In June 2003, Cathay Pacific carried 459,627 passengers, up from 243,976 in May, but still down 54.5 percent on the number carried in June last year. Passenger numbers and the number of flights operated by the airline picked up towards the end of the month after the WHO lifted its warnings.
A total of 63,599 tonnes of cargo were carried in June, 13.0 percent less than in the same month last year, although the cargo load factor for the month was up marginally by 0.2 percentage points.
Cumulative figures for the first six months of the year show that the airline carried one-third less passengers than it did in the same period last year. During the same period it carried 2.3 percent less cargo.
Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management, Sales and Distribution Ian Shiu said: “For any airline to carry less than half the number of passengers it did a year ago would, under almost any other circumstances, be utterly devastating. But June`s figures are a definite improvement on those for May and they continue to build. Services are being restored and we aim to operate a full schedule by late September. However, competition remains keen on ticket pricing and we currently still have some way to go to actually break even.”
Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Kenny Tang said: “Cargo held up, despite some reduction in available cargo space in passenger aircraft belly holds, because we mounted additional freighter operations, and passenger services that did operate also carried more cargo. Reduced capacity slowed overall growth during the first six months, but the restoration of all passenger services will help business in the second half of the year.”