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Cathay Pacific’s August 2023 Traffic Figures: Stats to Know

Cathay Pacific Airways recently announced its traffic numbers for August 2023, reflecting a strong recovery. The airline carried over 10 million passengers in the first eight months 2023. The airline is on an upward trajectory, with a 603% increase in passenger numbers compared to August 2022.

Let’s delve into the specifics of Cathay Pacific’s August 2023 traffic report, reviewing key metrics, growth areas, and future projections.

Record-Breaking Passenger Numbers

1,784,980 passengers took to the skies with Cathay Pacific in August. This comes alongside a remarkable 342.8% increase in Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPKs) year-on-year, showcasing a robust recovery of travel demand. The airline’s Passenger Load Factor also increased by 19.4 percentage points to a solid 88%. Capacity, measured in available seat kilometers (ASKs), increased by 244.9% year on year.

  • In the first eight months of 2023, the number of passengers carried increased by 1,302%. That was against a 633.1% increase in capacity with 876.7% increase in RPKs, compared with the same period for 2022.

Steady Cargo Business

Cathay Pacific’s cargo division experienced an 11.5% uptick in tonnage, shipping 116,919 tonnes of cargo in August. Despite the slow global trend for air cargo, Cathay Pacific’s Cargo Revenue Tonne Kilometers (RFTKs) increased by 13.2% year-on-year. The cargo load factor decreased by 8.2 percentage points to 58.8%. Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometers (AFTKs), increased by 29% compared to last year.

  • In the first eight months of 2023, the tonnage increased by 20.8% against an 87.8% increase in capacity. There was a 60.5% increase in RFTKs, compared to the same period in 2022.

Focused Areas of Growth


Lavinia Lau, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer at Cathay Pacific, remarked on the strong performance during the peak summer season.

“We continued to increase our flight frequencies to cater to the strong demand. Our newly resumed flights serving Johannesburg received a positive response, particularly among business and leisure travelers flying to Hong Kong and beyond,” Lau said.

“In the first half of the month, we saw consistently high demand for leisure travel from Hong Kong and the rest of the Greater Bay Area to various short-haul destinations. We also saw increased demand for outbound travel from Japan to Hong Kong and onward destinations in Asia and Europe in mid-August, coinciding with the Obon holiday period in Japan. Meanwhile, in the latter part of the month, there was a notable increase in student travel to Canada, the US, and the UK from Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland ahead of the start of the new school year.”


The cargo business continues to experience growth, largely driven by the burgeoning e-commerce sector. Lau noted that the airline anticipates increasing demand from seasonal consumer sales events like ‘Singles’ Day’ in China and ‘Black Friday’ in long-haul markets.

Optimistic Outlook for 2023

According to Lau, the outlook for the remainder of 2023 remains upbeat. Cathay Pacific continues to expand, with more flights operating to and from the Chinese Mainland. Services to Colombo and Chennai are set to resume in February 2024, giving passengers even more travel options.

Cathay Pacific’s August figures (tables) and Glossary

CATHAY PACIFIC TRAFFICAUG2023% Change VS AUG 2022CumulativeAUG 2023%ChangeYTD
RPK (000)    
– Chinese Mainland347,490376.2%2,078,740715.0%
– North East Asia1,085,5134,496.1%6,338,9268,727.0%
– South East Asia835,623973.7%5,975,9992,099.4%
– South Asia, Middle East ​ & Africa389,5841,133.5%2,208,6322,352.8%
– South West Pacific779,751476.9%5,780,134943.2%
– North America1,921,066132.8%12,295,790502.2%
– Europe1,736,188298.2%11,692,794699.1%
RPK Total (000)7,095,215342.8%46,371,015876.7%
Passengers carried1,784,980603.0%11,345,7041,302.2%
Cargo revenue tonne km (000)679,76713.2%5,246,83660.5%
Cargo carried (000kg)116,91911.5%883,93820.8%
Number of flights3,779110.5%25,541129.5%
Source: Cathay Pacific
CATHAY PACIFIC CAPACITYAUG2023% Change VS ​ AUG 2022CumulativeAUG 2023%ChangeYTD
ASK (000)    
– Chinese Mainland407,428222.9%2,752,420283.7%
– North East Asia1,216,2071,723.7%7,641,6043,013.7%
– South East Asia1,017,034573.1%7,246,4891,302.9%
– South Asia, Middle East ​ & Africa497,238663.4%2,685,6841,252.2%
– South West Pacific924,728348.9%6,911,147639.0%
– North America2,128,22272.8%13,072,976359.8%
– Europe1,869,865281.7%12,607,078615.4%
ASK Total (000)8,060,721244.9%52,917,398633.1%
Passenger load factor88.0%19.4%pt87.6%21.9%pt
Available cargo tonne km (000)1,155,50229.0%8,388,31987.8%
Cargo load factor58.8%-8.2%pt62.5%-10.6%pt
ATK (000)1,923,33271.7%13,433,373160.4%
Source: Cathay Pacific


  • Available Seat Kilometres (ASK): Passenger seat capacity.
  • Available Tonne Kilometres (ATK): Overall capacity for passengers and cargo.
  • Available Cargo Tonne Kilometres (AFTK): Cargo capacity.
  • Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPK): Number of passengers multiplied by sector distance.
  • Cargo Revenue Tonne Kilometres (RFTK): Amount of cargo multiplied by sector distance.

Key Takeaways

The August 2023 traffic report points to an extremely healthy recovery and growth trajectory for Cathay Pacific. With a keen focus on customer demand, the airline is well-positioned for future success. Cathay Pacific’s August 2023 traffic figures reflect the airline’s resilience and adaptability in a rapidly changing industry landscape.

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