Cathay Pacific Is Back: Airline Returns to Profitability

Cathay Pacific Is Back: Airline Returns to Profitability
Photo Credit: James Field/AviationSource

Cathay Pacific is back. The airline has this week announced a return to profitability for the first time since 2019.

The Hong Kong-based carrier has finally managed to turn things around following a COVID pandemic that decimated air travel in the region.

Without further ado, let’s get into it…

The Numbers from Cathay Pacific…

Cathay Pacific Is Back: Airline Returns to Profitability
Photo Credit: Kyle Hayes/AviationSource

Cathay Pacific turned over a profit of HK$9.7bn in 2023, which is a 16,412% increase on last year.

For context, in 2022, the airline ran up a loss of HK$6.6bn, showing the dire straits that the airline was in.

Revenues jumped up 85.1% to HK$94.4bn in 2023 from HK$51.0bn in 2022.

In the financial results, the Chairman of Cathay Pacific, Patrick Healy, had this to say on the results:

“[For] 2023, we finally left the Covid-19 pandemic behind us.”

“In welcoming this new phase, our purpose “to move people forward in life” has been foremost in our minds.”

“Our primary focus has been on rebuilding Cathay for the benefit of our customers, our people, our shareholders and the Hong Kong international aviation hub.”

“I am pleased to report that we achieved our end-2023 Group target of operating 70% of pre-pandemic passenger flights, connecting Hong Kong with around 80 destinations around the world.”

“This strong financial performance has also allowed us to recognise and reward the efforts of our dedicated team; make commitments regarding significant capital investments in our fleet, products and service; and to begin to repay the support provided by the Hong Kong SAR Government for our recapitalisation in 2020, for which we are deeply grateful.”

First Profit Since 2019…

Cathay Pacific Is Back: Airline Returns to Profitability
Photo Credit: James Field/AviationSource

Such profitability reported in 2023 is the first time since 2019, which is known as the pre-pandemic era.

With the COVID-19 pandemic starting in neighbouring China, the airline suffered the brunt of the virus.

Air travel was suspended immediately out of the region, with global partners also doing the same, which didn’t help.

From there, with the help of the Hong Kong Government, the airline has been able to stay afloat in that dangerous period.

Now, Cathay Pacific can say that they have got through the worst of the post-pandemic era.

The focus for the airline now will be to grow on those profits and rebuild the carrier to what they used to be.

Such a point has been made under the three runway system at Hong Kong Airport that they intend to take advantage of.

“Our priority in 2024 is to ensure high-quality and sustainable growth as we prepare for the full operation of the Three-Runway System at Hong Kong International Airport by the end of this year.”

“This milestone marks an exciting new chapter in the growth of our home hub and opens up a wide range of opportunities. Our investments will span our fleet, our customer experience and our people.”

Looking to fleet expansion, Cathay Pacific has over 70 aircraft on order, with options for 52 more.

An additional 32 Airbus A321neo and A320neo aircraft was ordered recently.

This complements the original 32 that they have on order already, with six A350 Freighters also ordered.

Within the A350 Freighter scope, Cathay Pacific also has options to acquire 20 more.

So, for the first time in a long time, things are looking solid for the Hong Kong-based airline.


Photo Credit: James Field/AviationSource

In conclusion, Cathay Pacific has been able to survive the global pandemic and come out the other side fighting.

From suffering years of losses to a significant profit, the airline can now move ahead and plan for growth.

All eyes will be on where this future growth will lie, but for now, they are in a good position to succeed.

Let’s see how they get on in 2024.

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By James Field - Editor in Chief 5 Min Read
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