Cathay Pacific Airways predicts revenue for August will be affected significantly by this summer’s mass civil protests in Hong Kong, weakening inbound and outbound traffic.

The Hong Kong-based airline said its July traffic figures, released Aug. 21, were not hurt much by the protests, but expects that will not be the case for its next monthly report.

“We anticipate a much more significant impact to our revenue in August and onwards,” Cathay chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said.

Lam noted that business and leisure traffic into Hong Kong “has weakened substantially” this month. Outbound traffic is also “starting to soften,” particularly on the carrier’s short-haul Asian network.

For July, passenger numbers rose 4% and traffic, measured in RPKs, was up by 6.4% year-on-year (YOY). However, the increase did not match the 7.2% capacity gain, so load factor declined by 0.6 points to 86.1%. These figures include Cathay and its Cathay Dragon subsidiary.

Passenger demand was “strong in the first half of the summer peak,” Lam said. However, yield was “under pressure due to intense competition and increasing transit passenger traffic.” This meant that Cathay’s North America, Europe and mainland China routes “underperformed.”

There are also “headwinds” facing the cargo market, with “market sentiment softening across the board,” Lam said. Cargo and mail traffic dropped 9.4% YOY in July, with capacity up 0.8%. South Asia was the only market where tonnage carried increased, Lam said. Cargo load factor fell by 7.2 points to 63.1%.

Adrian Schofield, adrian.schofield@informa.com