Hong Kong sister airlines Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair lauded the recent policy address of Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive CY Leung underscoring the government’s commitment to maintain the territory’s competitiveness as a major international aviation hub and logistics center.
The top officials of both airlines in separate written statements welcomed the government’s emphasis on the urgent need to construct a third runway to maintain Hong Kong’s position as an aviation hub, especially since capacity at the airport is expected to be reached within a couple of years.
Said Cathay Pacific chief executive John Slosar: “Developing our home airport is particularly important as neighboring airports in the Pearl River Delta—and throughout the Asian region—are actively moving forward with expansion projects.”
Dragonair chief executive officer Patrick Yeung added: “The airline welcomes the government’s consideration to increase the number of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices in Asia and expand its network of liaison units in Mainland China.”
Meanwhile, the two airlines released combined traffic figures showing that the total tonnage they carried in 2013 fell by 1.5 percent compared to the previous year, while capacity was up by 1.7 percent.
For December 2013, they also noted a year-on-year decline despite more capacity being available.
The carriers carried 139,608 tonnes of cargo and mail last month, a drop of 5 percent compared to December 2012. The cargo and mail load factor fell by 4.1 percentage points to 63.3 percent.
Capacity increased by 1.8 percent, while cargo and mail revenue tonne kilometers flown were down by 4.4 percent.
“After seeing strong demand throughout November, the seasonal airfreight peak began to fizzle out in mid-December,” noted Mark Sutch, Cathay Pacific general manager of cargo sales and marketing.
“There were some late charter requests to capture last-minute pre-Christmas demand on the trans-Pacific lanes, but by the third week in the month we had reduced our freighter schedule to pre-peak levels.”
Cathay took delivery of three more Boeing 747-8F freighters in December as part of its ongoing fleet modernization plan, a company release said.
Photo: Aero Icarus