Cathay Pacific Airways today released combined Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon traffic figures for May 2017 that show a slight decrease in the number of passengers carried and an increase in cargo and mail uplifted compared to the same month in 2016.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a total of 2,849,475 passengers last month - a decrease of 0.5% compared to May 2016. The passenger load factor grew by 0.2 percentage points to 84.2%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 1.5%. In the first five months of 2017, the number of passenger carried declined by 0.2% while capacity rose by 1.0%.

The two airline s carried 161,743 tonnes of cargo and mail last month, an increase of 11.5% compared to the same month last year. The cargo and mail load factor rose by 4.1 percentage points to 66.3%. Capacity, measured in available cargo/mail tonne kilometres, was up by 1.2% while cargo and mail revenue tonne kilometres (RTKs) increased by 8.0%. In the first five months of 2017, the tonnage rose by 11.3% against a 1.8% increase in capacity and an 8.4% increase in RTKs.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management Patricia Hwang said: "May is traditionally one of the slower months of the year, and we saw a weakening in passenger demand for regional leisure travel after the Easter holiday period. On a brighter note, there has been an uptick in demand for premium class travel. Traffic on long-haul routes remained robust in May. Our Tel Aviv flights, which were launched in March, continued to perform well. We will start a seasonal service to Barcelona this summer, which we expect to prove popular with our customers. Meanwhile, yield continues to come under intense pressure in the face of competition."

Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing Mark Sutch said: "Our cargo business continued to show strong year-on-year growth in May. While the market slowed down during the local Labour Day and Japan's 'Golden Week' holidays, it promptly rebounded on all routes, especially those serving Northeast and Southeast Asia. Yield and demand continued to improve, which reflects the overall strength of the air freight industry. To take advantage of market conditions, we have bolstered our freighter fleet by wet-leasing two Boeing 747-8 freighters from Atlas Air Worldwide, which will supplement capacity on our existing network, including destinations in the United States and Europe."