Cathay Pacific has become the first major Asia-Pacific carrier to post September operating statistics that show real signs that stronger regional economic activity is reviving business travel and the export of high value consumer goods and components by air freight.

Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management Tom Owen said: “September saw a welcome seasonal upturn in demand for premium traffic with an improved share of the overall business, but at volumes and yields still well below previous years. Several special events including Indonesian Lebaran and the Japanese silver week holidays helped boost regional leisure demand for the month. Reduced capacity, especially on some long haul routes, provided the context for the higher load factors and improved efficiency levels on several routes compared to the recent past.”

Cathay Pacific General Manager Cargo Sales & Marketing Titus Diu said: “The trend of plummeting yields that began in fourth quarter 2008 and continued through second quarter of 2009 has stopped as volumes have strengthened. We have experienced a gradual improvement in both volume and yield, albeit from a low base. However, it is still too soon to say whether these improvements are the beginning of a sustained recovery.”

The Cathay Pacific and Dragonair statistics also show that the group has almost perfectly paced the declines in its demand and supply sides over the first nine months of this year, with passenger numbers falling -3.8% compared to capacity cuts of -3.9%.

The full figures released on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are as follows:

CX Sept 09