Cathay Pacific Airways (293) announced interim results. Profit attributable to shareholders was HKD 1.347 billion, while there was a loss of HK$263 million in the same period last year. It was mainly due to the increase in passenger transportation revenue and fuel hedging losses, despite declined freight volume and yield. Profit per share amounts to HKD 34.2 cents, interim dividend to HKD 18 cents.

The company completed the acquisition of Hong Kong Express earlier. Rupert Hogg, Chief Executive Officer of the company, said that the company will continue to maintain Hong Kong Express as a major low-cost airline business. Hong Kong Express will also have its own positioning and team. The company plans to expand its business in the future, such as adding new destinations. He also pointed out that the company plans to hire 2300 people this year, mainly for frontline employees.

Paul Loo, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, said that the continual recent demonstrations in Hong Kong would likely cause a double-digit decline in the number of inbound passengers in the next two or three months. The number of outbound passengers also recorded a single-digit decrease, though the number of transfer passengers increased. He said that the second half of the year is traditionally a peak season, so it is expected that the freight business will improve. Yet he stressed that performance would still be affected by such factors as global economy, geopolitics and trade war.

Chairman John Slosar pointed out that a strong US dollar would exert a negative impact on the company, but believed that low fuel cost could offset some of the impact. As for the impact of the depreciation of the RMB, he said that it would mainly affect the subsidiary company in China.

Cathay Pacific’s passenger transportation business revenue during the period was HKD 37.449 billion, up 5.6% year-on-year; the freight business income was HKD 11.498 billion, down 11.4% year-on-year. The passenger transport capacity increased by 6.7%, the load factor remained unchanged at 84.2%, and the number of passengers carried increased by 4.4% to 18.3 million. The cargo load of cargo business increased by 1.1%, but the load factor fell by 4.9 percentage points to 63.4%, while the cargo load decreased by 5.7% to 979,000 tons.

During the period, the total fuel cost was HKD 14.807 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 7.7%. The 6.5% drop of average aircraft fuel price was partially offset by the 2% increase in fuel consumption. Fuel hedging loss reduced by 82.5% within the period concerned.