Air Cargo Management

Cathay Pacific reports almost 50% drop in cargo volumes

Cathay Pacific: cargo coronavirus

Cathay Pacific Group has reported a 48.3 per cent drop in cargo volumes compared to April 2019.

The decline saw the Hong Kong group’s airlines Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carry 84,634 tonnes of cargo and mail in the month of April.

The month’s revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) dropped 37.3 per cent year-on-year. Cargo and mail load factor increased by 7.6 percentage points to 70.1 per cent, while capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), fell by 44.1 per cent.

Since then, the airline group has been ramping up capacity by increasing the use of its existing freighter fleet, prioritising routes where air freight demand is greatest and loading additional cargo into aircraft cabins.

Cathay Pacific Group chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said: “Overall tonnage uplift in April dropped by almost a third compared to the previous month, it being particularly impacted by the further contraction of our belly capacity across our passenger network.

The movement of certain cargo, such as perishables, seafood, live animals, industrial parts and equipment, was also negatively affected by lockdown measures around the world. Nevertheless, we continued to carry significant quantities of medical supplies from mainland China and Hong Kong.”

He continued: “Significant effort was made to prioritise capacity for routings with the highest airfreight demand, most notably to the Americas, Australia and Europe.

“We also increased the utilisation of our existing freighter fleet, chartered more flights from our subsidiary Air Hong Kong, and successfully operated over 500 pairs of cargo-only passenger flights – more than double the number we operated in March.”

To further expand its available capacity, at the end of April the group began loading cargo in the cabins of its Boeing 777 passenger aircraft, which it expects “will serve long-haul markets especially well in the months to come”.

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