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13 Jan 2009
Cathay Pacific Releases Combined Traffic Figures for December 2008

Cathay Pacific Airways today released combined Cathay Pacific and Dragonair traffic figures for December 2008 that show a slight decrease in the number of passengers carried compared to the same month in 2007, despite a capacity increase, and a substantial fall in cargo and mail tonnage.

In December, the two airlines carried a total of 2,110,719 passengers - down 0.3% on the same month in 2007 - while the load factor dipped by 1.8 percentage points to 79.0%. This compares to a 4.7% rise in passenger capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), for the month. For 2008 as a whole, the number of passengers carried was 24,959,429 - a 7.3% rise, compared to a capacity increase of 12.7%.

Cathay Pacific and Dragonair carried a total of 115,232 tonnes of cargo and mail last month, down 23.9% on December 2007, while capacity, measured in available cargo/mail tonne kilometres, fell by 14.0%. The cargo and mail load factor dropped by 5.7 percentage points to 62.9%. For the year as a whole, cargo and mail tonnage fell to 1,644,785 tonnes - down 1.6% compared to a capacity rise of 0.7%.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management Tom Owen said: "Our passenger traffic in December fell marginally compared to the previous year, while capacity over the same period grew. The actual passenger numbers in December, while appearing reasonable in the current weak trading environment, were due to active measures in various markets to stimulate volumes, assisted by the short Christmas leisure peak. Chasing the available Economy cabin demand however, coupled with the continued slump in premium traffic and weak Hong Kong route demand, led to lower yields per ticket - and we expect a similar situation for Chinese New Year. Meanwhile, the premium cabin performance continues to grind downwards."

Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing Titus Diu said: "There was no sign of any pre-Christmas rush in 2008 and weak demand globally led to tonnage falling faster than we could cut capacity. We saw a big decline in goods being carried from the Pearl and Yangtze River Deltas last month, causing a further slump in the Hong Kong market. We expect the market to remain weak in the first quarter of 2009 and we have revised our capacity to Europe and North America downwards in line with expected demand."