Cathay Pacific’s freight traffic contracted 25% in October

Cathay Pacific’s freight volumes in October continued a double-digit contraction pattern as China’s strict coronavirus policies hampered flight operations and the traditional surge in air freight activity before the holidays did not materialize.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, a major carrier with a fleet of 20 Boeing 747 freighters, fell from fifth to ninth largest freighter in the world last year, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Cathay reported that revenue kilometres, a metric that helps determine profitability for carriers, was down 25% year-over-year and down 36.2% compared to October 2019. Freight numbers for October improved 3.3 points compared to September, which is an indicator that indicates increased freight activity rather than So. To jump ahead as traditionally rush to stock the shelves for the holiday shopping season.

The transported tonnage of crude decreased by 11%.

A slowdown in the global economy and high retail inventory levels have curbed demand for air and sea freight this fall, and COVID-related lockdowns have continued in many Chinese cities that have reduced productivity in many factories there.

Cathay Pacific had 10% less cargo capacity than a year ago because it trimmed freight-only passenger flights, in part because of expectations for a muted shipping season.

“Our expanded network in Europe was a bright spot with double-digit growth month in month as we resumed more of our passenger services. This has given our freight customers more choice, especially for freight,” said Ronald Lamm, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, in a press release. specialized as medicines.

Cathay Pacific’s lower productivity is roughly in line with the rest of the year. In the first ten months of 2022, revenue tonne kilometers were down 31% compared to the same period in 2021.

The measure based on distance decreased by 5% more in October than tonnage launched, reflecting the fact that pandemic travel restrictions and crew quarantine measures severely limited long-haul flying. The situation is starting to improve after Hong Kong recently relaxed quarantine requirements for inbound arrivals and crew, allowing Cathay Pacific to ramp up international flights.

The company says it expects to add 3,000 flights and reach a third of pre-pandemic passenger capacity by the end of the year. Available seats will be 70% of 2019 levels by the end of 2023, in marked contrast to many competitors in Europe and North America who are already well above that figure.

“While this year’s peak season will be weak when compared to last year’s unprecedented peak, we still expect to see increased tonnage driven by seasonal e-commerce events as well as the start of the perishables season in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Lam. . “As the belly capacity offered by our passenger flights increases over the coming months, we are expanding our network and increasing the choice of schedules for our air cargo customers.”

Hong Kong Pharma capacity

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Services Limited, Cathay Pacific said, recently opened a 13,450-square-foot cold storage facility for medicines at the Hong Kong cargo terminal. Cathay Pacific’s cargo terminal serves several airlines at Hong Kong Airport. The specialized warehousing division has 60 sensors that provide real-time temperature monitoring, temperature-controlled docks with air seals for trucks, and shipping points for refrigerated containers.

The new pharmaceutical center is capable of processing more than 292,000 tons of medicines annually, doubling the cold storage capacity of the Cathay Pacific terminal. It is the airport’s largest dedicated medication-handling facility, according to the airline.

Cathay Pacific said increased demand for air travel is improving operating cash flow for the second half of the year, but the company still expects a “significant” loss for the year.

More FreightWaves / American Shipper stories by Eric Kulich.

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