Passenger numbers at Cathay Pacific rose strongly in February, helped by the timing of the Chinese New Year.
The airline group said total passengers carried across its Cathay and Dragonair network rose 12.4 per cent to 2.68 million in February, compared with the prior corresponding period.
There was strong demand on flights to mainland China, North Asia, North America and Southeast Asia, with double-digit increases in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) on those routes.
And RPKs for South West Pacific (which covers Australia and New Zealand) and South Africa routes rose 9.9 per cent, Cathay said on Monday.
“Passenger traffic in February was boosted by the Chinese New Year holiday, which fell in January in the previous year,” Cathay general manager for revenue management Patricia Hwang said in a statement.
“It was a very strong peak in terms of leisure demand, with new daily and weekly passenger uplift records set for both airlines.
“Demand on the Southwest Pacific routes, to Australia and New Zealand, was robust throughout the month.”
“While it helped to spur leisure traffic, the holiday period led to a dip in demand in the premium cabins.”
Cathay said on March 9 it would boost capacity to Australia from October when a Boeing 777-300ER takes over a second of its four daily flights to Sydney.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines (SIA) also experienced a lift in passenger numbers in February on its services to Australia, but struggled on the rest of its network.
SIA said passenger load factors (PLF) to Australia and New Zealand were up 5.2 percentage points to 84.9 per cent in February, compared with the same month a year earlier.
It was the only one of SIA’s five regions to record an improvement in load factors in February, with flights to East Asia, the Americas and Europe all flying emptier in the month, while load factors on its West Asia network were flat.
“PLF improved for South West Pacific on the back of stronger demand, coupled with capacity consolidation,” SIA said in a statement.
“On the other hand, PLF on East Asia routes declined as capacity growth outstripped demand. Passenger demand was weaker to Americas and Europe.
SIA said the competitive landscape continued to be challenging.
“Singapore Airlines will remain nimble to redeploy capacity to better match market demand and promotional activities will continue in relevant markets,” the company said.