LONDON – Yesterday, Cathay Pacific announced an increase in passenger numbers by a staggering 768.7%. Let’s take a look at the numbers.
The airline noted this percentage increase in its monthly traffic figures for December 2022.
Cathay Pacific handled 801,088 passengers in December, an increase of 768.7% but a decrease of 73.3% compared to pre-pandemic levels in December 2019.
The load factor increased by 46.7% to 83.3%, representing more progress in the wake of Hong Kong-based post-COVID recovery.
In the full year of 2022, the number of passengers increased by 291% compared to the full year of 2021.
Cathay Pacific also carried 106,471 tonnes of cargo, which is a decrease of 21% compared with the same period in 2021 but represents a 40% decrease compared with the same period in 2019.
Lam: Drastic Uptick in Demand…
Ronald Lam, the Chief Executive Officer of Cathay Pacific, commented on these results, stating that there has been a drastic uptick in demand:
“December saw a drastic uptick in travel demand with Christmas being the first major holiday since travel restrictions in Hong Kong were lifted, although we were still only operating about 32% of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity levels”.
“We carried over 25,800 passengers per day on average. Demand was overwhelming for travel to short-haul leisure destinations as we continue to ramp up our frequencies”.
“We also added more destinations in December, including Sapporo, Fukuoka, Penang, and Dhaka, ending the year with close to 60 destinations in our network – double the 29 we flew to in January 2022”.
“In terms of cargo, overall market demand continued to be flat in December, as was the case for the fourth quarter.”
“Tonnage saw a mild month-on-month increase of 3% against a 4% increase in cargo flight capacity. Overall, in December, we operated 65% of pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity levels”.
Cathay’s 2023 Expected to be a Better Year…
Cathay Pacific expects 2023 to be a better year, with Lam emphasizing that the airline will be operating around 70% of pre-pandemic levels.
By the end of 2024, Cathay Pacific expects to be back to pre-pandemic levels, which is a promising sign for the carrier moving forward.
On top of this, due to the return of quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and China, Cathay Pacific will be operating more than 100 return flights per week into 14 different cities across the Chinese mainland.
As Cathay Pacific opens up new routes and reinstates old ones, this will bring in more revenue for the carrier to use, reducing its expected attributable loss to shareholders of HK$6.4-7.1bn.
This will be a key priority for Lam, especially as the country begins to open up once again:
“Looking ahead into 2023, we are very excited to be firmly on the path to rebuilding Cathay Pacific and the Hong Kong International aviation hub.”
“Nevertheless, challenges still remain, and we are taking a measured and responsible approach to our rebuilding efforts”.
For now, all eyes will be on Cathay Pacific to see how quickly it can turn around its current position, one that tough COVID-19 measures have struck.