HKIA, Cathay Pacific airline announce steady cargo growth in April

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Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific group both recorded positive growth in cargo traffic in April year-on-year, even as passenger growth faltered.

During the month cargo and airmail handled at HKIA rose 4.8% to 426,000 tonnes as compared to the same period last year, while passengers served totaled 32 million, marking year-on-year growth of just 0.8%.

A 17% growth in transshipments spurred growth in cargo throughput in April. Among the key trading regions, cargo throughput for North America increased most significantly in the month.

Easter holiday fell in late March this year as compared to April in 2017. Balancing out the impact of the Easter holidays, the March and April combined passenger traffic showed a 4.5% year-on-year growth, driven by 9% growth in visitor traffic. Cargo and airmail throughput registered 0.9% growth, said HKIA.

Over the first four months of the year, HKIA handled 1.60 million tonnes of cargo and airmail and 24.7 million passengers for year-on-year increases of 4.2% and 3.4%, respectively. On a rolling 12-month basis, HKIA registered 5.11 million tonnes of cargo and airmail and 73.7 million passengers, representing year-on-year growth of and 7.2% and 4.1%, respectively.

Positive momentum for Cathay’s cargo

Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried 174,489 tonnes of cargo and mail last month, an increase of 6.7% compared to the same month last year. In the first four months of 2018, the tonnage rose by 7.8%.

The sister airlines carried over 2.98 million passengers last month—a drop of 0.8% compared to April 2017. In the first four months of 2018, the number of passengers carried grew by 2.0%.

Cathay Pacific director for commercial and cargo Ronald Lam said: “The positive momentum in our cargo business continued into April. Tonnage grew ahead of capacity while yield strengthened. After a slight slow-down in our Hong Kong and mainland China markets early in the month, volumes started to pick up again during the month and network flow from the Americas, Europe, India, Japan and Southeast Asia continued to show strength.”

On passenger performance, he said that the earlier start to the Easter holidays this year resulted in a reduction in backend demand during April when compared to last year.

“However, we enjoyed a high frontend load factor during the month and yield improvements helped offset the loss in traffic volume. Our routes to Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States performed well, as did those to mainland China and Taiwan,” said Lam.

Photo: Ralf Roletschek