Cathay Pacific Group’s cargo operations continued to outperform passenger traffic in July as cargo and mail tonnage for the airline and its Cathay Dragon subsidiary climbed 10 percent over the previous month to 102,129 tonnes, a press release confirmed.
However, this reflects a 39.8 percent drop compared to the same period last year, no thanks to significant reduction in belly capacity due to pulled back passenger flights.
July’s revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) fell 33.3 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, the cargo and mail load factor expanded 12.7 percentage points to 75.8%, whilst capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down 44.5 percent.
In the first seven months of 2020, tonnage slid 33.1 percent against a 33 percent drop in capacity and a 25.9 percent contraction in RFTKs, as compared to 2019’s January to July period.
Cathay Pacific said that India recorded a noticeable uptick in airfreight demand as local lockdown measures were eased, whilst Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland saw strong demand towards the end of the month.
To increase available cargo capacity, the airline started operating cargo-only passenger flights in July with Boeing 777-300ER converted freighters to transport personal protective equipment and garments in the passenger cabins.
With new waves of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong and elsewhere, Cathay Pacific downgraded its passenger flights for August to around 8 percent of the normal capacity from the previous forecast of 10 percent it said in June.