How the iPhone Is Helping Cathay Pacific out of Its Slump
The new iPhone 5c is seen during the release of the new iPhone 5s and 5c at the Apple Store on University Avenue in Palo Alto, California, Friday, September 20, 2013. Jane Tyska / Bay Area News Group/MCT
We don’t always remember that a plane stuffed with tiny, expensive packages can mean much more to an airline’s bottom line than a passenger with a ticket.
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., whose cargo unit moves Apple Inc. products, jumped the most in more than five months in Hong Kong on speculation record sales of new iPhones will help boost freight volumes at the carrier.
Cathay rose 3.5 percent, the most since April 8, to close at HK$15.46. The city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 0.6 percent.
“Cathay may benefit from the upbeat sales numbers from Apple’s new phones as it provides freight transport service to Apple’s suppliers in China,” Patrick Xu, a Hong Kong-based analyst with Barclays Plc., said in an e-mail. Cathay’s freight volume increased 1 percent in August from a year earlier, the first monthly gain since February, he said.
Apple sold a record 9 million iPhones in the weekend debut of two new models, as the company included China in the rollout and offered more colorful options. Cathay and other Asian carriers, suffering from a traffic slump of six straight months, are banking on demand for new gadgets to boost cargo volumes as transporting electronics is their biggest business.
Cathay declined to comment on the share increase. The airline welcomes the introduction of high-technology products because their delivery is time sensitive, giving shipping by air an advantage over by sea, it said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News.
Apple has helped the air cargo industry in the past too. When the iPhone 5 went on sale in September last year, the decline in monthly freight traffic in the Asia-Pacific region shrank to 2.6 percent, easing from a 6.3 percent drop in the previous month.
Declining fuel prices may also be a reason for the gain in Cathay shares, according to Credit Suisse Group AG analyst Timothy Ross. West Texas Intermediate crude traded near the lowest price in more than six weeks.
Editors: Vipin V. Nair, Dave McCombs. To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmine Wang in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anand Krishnamoorthy at email@example.com.