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Cathay Pacific releases March 2003 traffic figures

Cathay Pacific Airways released traffic figures for the month of March 2003 that show a combination of the…

Cathay Pacific Airways released traffic figures for the month of March 2003 that show a combination of the outbreak of a typical pneumonia and the war in Iraq beginning to have an impact on business.

In March 2003, Cathay Pacific carried 915,741 passengers, down from 974,108 passengers in February 2003 and 13 percent down from March 2002. The passenger load factor fell to 66.4 percent – down 16.7 percentage points from the same month last year.

Since the end of March, however, passenger traffic has fallen to about one-third of what it normally would be at this time of year. The airline has currently temporarily cut its full schedule by around 42% due to the steep drop in demand.

In March 2003 Cathay Pacific carried 81,010 tonnes of cargo, up from 62,155 tonnes in February and up 1.8 percent compared to March 2002. The cargo market showed no sign of slowing down in March, despite the beginning of hostilities in the Middle East.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management, Sales and Distribution Ian Shiu said: For the first half of March passenger traffic held up quite well, but then we began to see quite a rapid falloff in passenger numbers as the combined impact of the war and the atypical pneumonia outbreak began to bite. Short-haul traffic fell away much quicker than long-haul due to the big impact of the SARS outbreak in the region.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Kenny Tang said: Despite the beginning of the Iraq war and lingering economic concerns, the cargo market held up quite well in March. Some of this was down to businesses `stocking up` before the war began, while the reduction in freighter capacity in the United States due to the Iraq war was another factor working in our favour.

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