Cathay Pacific today released its traffic figures for May 2024. In the first five months of the year, Cathay Pacific and HK Express together surpassed the 10 million mark for passengers carried, with a combined 11.2 million passengers carried during the period.

Cathay Pacific carried a total of 1,678,532 passengers in May 2024, an increase of 18.4% compared with May 2023. The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 20.8% year on year. Passenger load factor decreased by 4.8 percentage points to 80.3%, while available seat kilometres (ASKs) increased by 28% year on year. In the first five months of 2024, the number of passengers carried increased by 40.7% to a total of 8,821,895, against a 45.7% increase in ASKs and a 37.5% increase in RPKs, as compared with the same period for 2023.

The airline carried 121,088 tonnes of cargo in May 2024, an increase of 10.2% compared with May 2023. The month’s cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) increased 3.8% year on year. The cargo load factor decreased by 2.1 percentage points to 59.4%, while available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs) increased by 7.5% year on year. In the first five months of 2024, the tonnage increased by 10.2% to a total of 594,896 tonnes, against an 11.8% increase in AFTKs and a 4.4% increase in RFTKs, as compared with the same period for 2023.


“Cargo demand from Hong Kong and the rest of the Greater Bay Area remained solid throughout May. Across our network, tonnage grew 3% against last month, and 10% compared with May 2023, underpinned by a capacity growth of 7.5%. We observed particularly strong growth from Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland, the Taiwan region and Southeast Asia. In terms of commodity mix, there was also an increase in tonnage of general cargo as well as special cargo , with significant movements of high-end electronics, seafood and consumer products. E-commerce continued to perform well.


Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau said: “May was, as expected, a slightly quieter period for our travel business compared with previous months as demand slowed down, particularly on our regional routes. Without any long-weekend holidays in Hong Kong, we experienced a 4% decrease in passenger numbers compared with April, when multiple holidays drove strong leisure demand. However, compared with the same month last year, passenger numbers were 18% higher.

“Although leisure traffic from Hong Kong declined, we saw increased demand from various countries in Southeast Asia due to the school holidays there. Additionally, our long-haul services were boosted by the return of student traffic to Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland from North America, resulting in 90% load factors on our United States and Canada routes. Business travel demand continued to be solid, with strong sales in Hong Kong supporting traffic on a number of our Chinese Mainland, North America and United Kingdom routes.


“On the travel side, we achieved another milestone in our rebuilding journey as we reached 80% of our pre-pandemic passenger flights as a Group in the second quarter as planned. We remain on track to reach 100% within the first quarter of 2025 as we continue to add more flights and destinations for our customers.

“So far in 2024, Cathay Pacific has already added Chennai, Colombo and, as of this week, Barcelona to our global network, while HK Express has added Beijing (Daxing), Bangkok (Don Mueang), Sanya and Clark. Our passenger airlines now fly to more than 80 destinations around the world. This number will rise to 90 by next year as we continue to welcome even more destinations to our network, including Riyadh on 28 October 2024.

“For cargo, we expect demand to remain strong as it has been throughout the first five months of 2024. Market sentiment, particularly out of Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland, remains positive and we will continue to adjust our freighter capacity to suit the needs of our customers.

“Furthermore, we are delighted to have recently relaunched our Cathay Expert solution after listening to the needs of our customers regarding handling project-related cargo. This special solution is precisely tailored to provide customers with a fully customised handling for their odd-size, heavy or fragile cargo, and is the latest example of how we are enhancing our services as we strive to become the world’s best air cargo carrier.”