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Cathay Pacific Announces 1st Half Profits

Cathay Pacific Airways reported a first-half profit attributable to shareholders of HK$1,771 million in its 2004 Interim Results published today. This was in marked contrast to the HK$1,241 million loss recorded during the SARS-affected first half of 2003. An improving world economy and a strong recovery in Hong Kong propelled growth in both the airline’s passenger and cargo operations. The airline responded by introducing new services and additional frequencies across its network.

Turnover was sharply higher at HK$18,185 million, compared to HK$12,275 million during the same six-month period last year. The number of passengers carried increased 59.3 percent to 6.4 million. Passenger yield improved to HK45.7 cents, up from HK42.8 cents, reflecting both the improved demand for business and leisure travel and currency gains resulting from the weaker US dollar.

Cargo volumes increased 15.8 percent to 469,909 tonnes due to continued growth of re-exports from Southern China and higher volumes carried on trunk routes to Europe, Japan and the United States. Cargo yield remained at HK$1.72.

Higher revenues were partially offset by higher costs arising from the sharp rise in the price of fuel. The average price before hedging was 16.9 percent higher than in the same period last year. Fuel accounted for 21.8 percent of the airline’s operating costs during the period.

Cathay Pacific Chairman James Hughes-Hallett said: “Prospects for the traditionally stronger second half of the year appear to be good, although the high fuel price remains a concern, which if sustained, could dampen global economic growth and the demand for air travel. We remain optimistic over our future and will continue to develop our network, strengthen Hong Kong as a global aviation hub and focus on delivering superior value to customers.”