Cathay Pacific group’s passenger numbers soar to over 2 million in January 2024, up 66.4% Year-on-Year

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File photo.

22nd February 2024 – (Hong Kong) Cathay Pacific Group has reported a significant rise in passenger traffic for January 2024. The group, which includes Cathay Pacific and HK Express, successfully carried in excess of two million travellers, averaging a daily passenger count surpassing 70,000.

The flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific, witnessed a passenger number swell to 1.72 million, marking a 66.4% uplift from the previous January. Despite the post-holiday drop in leisure voyages, the airline’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) soared by 56.7% compared to the same period last year. However, the passenger load factor saw a modest decline of 4 percentage points, settling at 82.8%. In tandem with the growth in passenger numbers, available seat kilometres (ASKs) also rose sharply by 64.2%.

On the cargo front, Cathay Pacific has made headway with a 20.7% year-on-year increase, transporting 114,790 tonnes of freight in January. Cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) grew by 11.4%, although there was a slight decrease in cargo load factor, which dipped by 3.6 percentage points to 58.6%. An 18.3% expansion in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs) accompanied the growth in tonnage.

Lavinia Lau, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, commented on the trends, noting, “Post-Christmas, as anticipated, leisure travel dipped. However, business travel recuperated swiftly, particularly to the Chinese Mainland, where we saw robust load factors in our premium cabins. The Philippines routes have been particularly stellar, approaching a 90% load factor, outshining other short-haul routes, buoyed by the Christmas return traffic.”

The airline experienced a traditional slackening in cargo demand following the year-end peak, but January figures remained positive year-on-year. Fresh produce shipments have particularly bolstered cargo services, with strong performance on routes from the Southwest Pacific to Asia.

Looking ahead, Lau is optimistic, highlighting solid demand over the Lunar New Year travel period and a resurgence in business travel post-holidays, especially on long-haul flights. Cathay Pacific also anticipates hosting the IATA’s World Cargo Symposium in March, a first for Hong Kong, which is expected to draw industry leaders to the city.

In a gesture of financial robustness, the Cathay Group has honoured its latest dividend payment to the Hong Kong SAR Government, amounting to HK$243.8 million on 14 February. Since the inception of the dividend arrangement, the group has disbursed over HK$2.2 billion. Furthermore, the group has outlined plans to repurchase the remaining preference shares by the close of July 2024, with 50% already bought back in December 2023, contingent on market conditions and business performance.