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Passenger numbers up at Cathay Pacific

Growth in demand for premium travel helped offset falling economy load factors at Cathay Pacific in June the latest figures from the airline reveal.

The Hong Kong-based saw overall passenger carryings rise by 2.4 per cent to 2.27 million last month when compared to the previous year.

However, capacity was up by 9.8 per cent over the first six months, seeing passenger load factors fall by 4.7 percentage points to 79.3 per cent.

Cathay Pacific Group includes Cathay Pacific and Dragonair.

Cathay Pacific general manager revenue management, Tom Owen, said: “Passenger numbers in June showed an increase compared to the same month last year, though load factors in Economy Class fell due to the growth in capacity.

“Some routes – including Japan, Shanghai and the Middle East - continued to show weakness, though loads on key long-haul routes and within Southeast Asia remained high.

“Demand in our premium cabins continued to show growth over last year, helping to boost yield and revenue efficiency.”

The two airlines carried 134,980 tonnes of cargo and mail in June, a 9.1 per cent decrease compared to the same month last year, while the cargo and mail load factor was down 8.4 percentage points to 67 per cent.

Cathay Pacific general manager cargo sales & marketing, James Woodrow, said: “We saw continued weakness out of our key Mainland China and Hong Kong markets in June, but this is traditionally a quieter time of year in the airfreight industry.

“The consistently strong demand seen throughout 2010 was certainly not the norm. Our India routes continued to perform well and we will launch a new twice-weekly freighter service to Bengaluru in August to further boost our presence in the subcontinent.”

In the Dog House

However, one group of passengers likely to see a sharp fall in numbers is brachycephalic breeds of dogs, which were recently banned from the airline.

Flat-faced dogs, as they are more commonly known, apparently have an increased risk of breathing problems and overheating due to the stress of flying.

As a result Cathay Pacific banned the animals – following the lead of Singapore Airlines and a number of American carriers – in an attempt to negate the “negative health impact to the animal”.

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