Annual report: Cathay Pacific sees increase in travel passengers from India

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 11, 2020

With Jet’s halt and other carriers reducing capacity, Cathay witnessed gains

Hong Kong’s national carrier Cathay Pacific on Wednesday said that in the first half of the 2019 calendar year , it benefited from the capacity reduction by Indian carriers.

The airline announced its annual results on March 11. The flagship airline of Hong Kong posted a 28 per cent drop in profit in 2019 compared to previous year.

Though its profits plunged, it saw a rise in the number of passengers travelling from India. As of January 2020, Cathay Pacific operated 49 flights per week out of six major ports in India- Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata with onward connections to more than 200 destinations via a dedicated terminal at Hong Kong International Airport.

In 2019, besides Cathay several Indian airlines operate between Indian and the APAC region. These airlines include Indigo, Vistara, Air India, SpiceJet and Jet Airways (halted operations in April 2019).

“Traffic on Indian routes benefited from capacity reductions by Indian carriers in the first half of the year,” Cathay said in its annual report.

“From June 2019, Cathay Pacific increased the frequency of its services to Hyderabad from four to five times. Our South Asia routes performed positively throughout 2019, buoyed by strong demand for travel between India and North America.” The other Indian airlines filled in the capacity of slots occupied by Jet in the second half of 2019.

Impact of coronavirus

According to a recent report, Cathay Pacific has reduced its weekly flights from 49 to 36 (to and from India) due to the increase of positive cases of Coronavirus and reduced travel demand to Hong Kong. The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus in India have reached 52.

The Indian health ministry had issued a travel advisory for Indians to refrain from travelling to China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, Japan, France, Spain and Germany, and a compulsory screening for passengers from several countries including Hong Kong.

According to Cathay, the outbreak of Covid-19 since January 2020 has resulted in a challenging operational environment, “and will adversely impact the Group's financial performance and liquidity position. It is difficult to predict when these conditions will improve. However, the Group is expected to incur a substantial loss for the first half of 2020.”

“Travel demand has dropped substantially and the Group has taken a number of short-term measures in response, including aggressive reduction of passenger capacity measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) by approximately 30 per cent for February and 65 per cent for March and April, with frequencies cut approximately 65 per cent and 75 per cent over the same periods.”

It further that the passenger load factor has declined to approximately 50 per cent on a year-on-year basis and is likely to reduce even further.

Published on March 11, 2020

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