Cathay Pacific Airways today released traffic figures for December 2003 that show a seasonal boost to the airline`s passenger and cargo businesses at the year`s end.
In December, the airline carried 1,111,505 passengers, up from 1,002,040 passengers carried in November and a 0.6 percent rise for the month year-on-year. The average passenger load factor was 77.5 percent, unchanged from December 2002. Over the Christmas and New Year period, Cathay Pacific operated 39 extra pairs of flights to meet seasonal demand.
Cumulative figures for the year reflect a robust post-SARS recovery in travel and tourism. The airline carried more than 6 million passengers in the past six months, compared to just over 4 million in the first half of 2003.
Cargo`s strong run continued in December, even as the pre-holiday peak came to an end. The airline carried 81,340 tonnes of freight, down from 86,673 tonnes carried in November, yet up 9.9 percent from December 2002.
Total tonnage carried throughout 2003 was down just 0.8 percent from 2002, a creditable performance given the temporary reduction in available cargo capacity during SARS.
Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management, Sales & Distribution Ian Shiu said: “December was a very good month, with pent-up demand for leisure travel over Christmas and the New Year helping us end the year on a high note. Cumulative figures for 2003 show that passenger business recovered quickly to make up a lot of ground lost to SARS.”
Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Kenny Tang said: “The pre-Christmas peak lasted a little longer than usual on the back of strong demand from the United States and Europe to post almost double-digit growth on same month a year ago. Overall, 2003 was a very encouraging year for cargo and we are well positioned to take advantage of new opportunities in the year ahead.”