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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific predicts 50 per cent of pre-Covid capacity by month’s end

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific predicts 50 per cent of pre-Covid capacity by month’s end

Airline says passenger numbers improved after Lunar New Year holiday and end of coronavirus restrictions.

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways predicted on Thursday it would reach 50 per cent of pre-Covid flight capacity by the end of the month after passenger numbers logged in February passed the million mark in the wake of the cancellation of the last pandemic restrictions.

The city’s flagship carrier carried 1.1 million passengers last month – 34 times the 31,253 people who flew with the airline in the same month last year.

Lavinia Lau, Cathay Pacific’s chief customer and commercial officer, said the airline had made good progress in increasing its capacity and rebuilding connectivity at the city’s airport.

“Passenger numbers further improved after the Lunar New Year holiday. We carried more than 1.1 million passengers last month averaging almost 40,000 per day,” Lau said.

Passengers queue at the Cathay Pacific check-in desk in busier times.

“By the end of March, the Cathay Group will be operating at around 50 per cent of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity, covering more than 70 destinations,” she added.

Hong Kong scrapped almost all Covid-19 measures last December, including mandatory tests for arrivals.

Other pandemic-related restrictions for cross-border travel between the city and the mainland started to ease in January and returned to normal last month.

The carrier’s cargo business also logged a significant improvement of 59.6 per cent year on year to 103,932 tonnes in February.

Cathay carried 95,139 tonnes of cargo in January.

The carrier said the nine per cent growth in cargo traffic last month compared to January reflected a gradual recovery in demand after the Lunar New Year holiday.

It added inbound cargo demand from the Americas, Europe, northeast Asia and the southwest Pacific remained steady.

“Demand from our home market, Hong Kong, as well as the Chinese mainland, is increasing, with e-commerce-related traffic picking up relatively more quickly,” Lau said.

“We are progressively expanding our network coverage as more of our passenger flights are resumed.”

Gianna Hsu Wong Mei-lun, the Travel Industry Council chairwoman, said on Monday that the limited availability of flights was a major factor behind the slower-than-expected rebound of the tourist trade.


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