Cathay Pacific Sees Strong Passenger Demand in February

A Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 at the terminal.
Photo Credit: Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific has released its traffic figures for February 2024. Overall, the monthy performance paints a picture of a thriving passenger business.

This pent-up passenger demand was fueled by the recent Chinese New Year holiday and shows a positive overall outlook.

Year-on-Year Surge in Demand

Passenger numbers for February 2024 surged by an impressive 61.6% compared to the same period in 2023.

This growth was particularly evident during the Chinese New Year festivities, with routes to Mainland China reaching a commendable 85% load factor.

This signifies a significant number of seats filled on flights, highlighting the surge in travel demand.

Positive developments extended beyond the holiday period. Bookings from Hong Kong to Japan saw a strong resurgence after a dip in January due to earthquakes.

M Radzi Desa (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2 ), via Wikimedia Commons

Additionally, the implementation of visa-free travel between Mainland China and Southeast Asian nations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia contributed to consistently positive travel sentiment on these routes.

Cathay Pacific’s strategic decision to resume services to Chennai and Colombo also proved successful, with both destinations receiving a warm welcome from customers.

Traffic to and from Hong Kong on the Chennai route performed well, with onward connections to the United States proving popular.

Colombo, on the other hand, attracted strong demand from passengers originating in Mainland China, Japan, and Australia.

Network Expansion and Growth

Throughout its recovery journey, Cathay Pacific has prioritized not only resuming service to previous destinations and increasing flight frequencies, but also expanding its network.

This expansion aims to create more business opportunities and provide Hong Kong travelers with a wider range of leisure destinations.

Furthermore, the airline maintains its dedication to the Central Government’s Belt and Road Initiative. This is clearly evident through its service to 21 destinations across 14 participating countries.

Adding to the excitement, Cathay Pacific announced the launch of passenger flights to Riyadh, the capital and financial hub of Saudi Arabia.

Flights are now scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2024. Specific details regarding these new flights are expected to be released soon.

Cargo Maintains Momentum

February witnessed a dip in cargo tonnage compared to January, likely due to the timing of Chinese New Year. Nevertheless, it still represented a 3% increase year-on-year compared to February 2023.

This demonstrates the airline’s ability to maintain cargo momentum even during seasonal fluctuations.

A healthy pre-holiday demand spike was observed, despite demand from Hong Kong and Mainland China dipping during the festivities. Overall, the impact was far less pronounced compared to previous years.

A Cathay Pacific aircraft is refuelled with SAF.
Photo Credit: Cathay Pacific

Encouragingly, long-haul routes emanating from other Asian markets, as well as Hong Kong and Mainland China, displayed positive tonnage growth.

This growth extends to special product categories like pharmaceuticals, perishables, and machinery parts, indicating a diversified and healthy cargo portfolio.

Cathay Pacific expects cargo demand to pick up towards the latter part of the first quarter. This is driven by the continued influence of e-commerce and the diverse freight solutions they offer to cater to a wide range of customer cargo needs.

Outlook: Optimism for Future

Overall, Cathay Pacific remains optimistic about the future. It now anticipates a steady rise in passenger demand leading up to the Easter holidays, particularly on long-haul routes.

This optimism is further bolstered by the anticipated influx of business travelers attending upcoming exhibitions in Hong Kong.

The recent extension of the Individual Visit Scheme to include travelers from Xi’an and Qingdao is also expected to contribute to a boost in travel to Hong Kong, especially during the May Labour Day holiday.


Cathay Pacific’s positive outlook for both passenger and cargo sectors is a promising sign for the airline’s future.

Their focus on network expansion, unwavering support for the Belt and Road Initiative, and upcoming Riyadh flights all demonstrate a commitment to growth and a dedication to exceeding customer needs.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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