Air cargo carriers Cathay and Virgin enjoy profitable start to their year

4.8.2010 (IFW)

by Katerina Kerr

Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic report healthy growth in cargo revenue and

Airlines Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic have recorded a profitable first
half and first quarter, respectively.

Cathay Pacific’s net profit for the first six months was more than eight times
that in the same period last year.

The carrier recorded a net profit of HK$6.84 billion (US$877 million), compared
to HK$812 million in the same period last year, on revenue up by 34% to HK$41.34
billion, from HK$30.92 billion in the first six months of last year.

Its cargo business was "very robust" for the whole of the first half, it reported,
with strong demand in key markets.

Cargo revenue increased by 63.1% to HK$11,844 million.

Cathay said its cargo business was now back to pre-recession levels, and by last
month, it had brought back into service all five aircraft that were parked-up
during last year’s economic downturn.

The airline carried a total of 871,585 tonnes of cargo in the first six months,
an increase of 24.4% on last year.

It said it was investing in 30 new A350-900 long-haul aircraft and six B777-300s
to meet future expansion needs.

Cathay Pacific Chairman Christopher Pratt said: "If present trends continue,
we expect our financial result to continue to be strong in the second half of

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic Cargo saw its revenue increase 36% to £52 million (US$83m) in its first financial
quarter, ending 30 May, compared with the same period last year.

CEO Steve Ridgway said: "The start of the year has been encouraging, despite
difficult trading conditions. Demand is picking up across the majority of our
routes and forward bookings for the summer have been very positive.

"From all of the major operational challenges that we have faced this year –
including snow and volcanic ash – the response from everyone at Virgin Atlantic
has been outstanding."  

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