A Bit of Optimism for Cathay Pacific With Recent Figures

A Cathay Pacific A350 climbs after takeoff.
Photo Credit: Charlie Carter/AviationSource

LONDON – The airline recorded an increase an 82.2% year-on-year, but the airline is still yet to fully recover to pre-pandemic capacity.

Cathay Pacific publicly release traffic figures for April 2022, and it shows that there is an 82.2% increase from the previous year after Hong Kong relaxes its travel restrictions.

Nevertheless, the road to full recovery is still a long road ahead.

Cathay is lagging behind its Asian counterpart of EVA Air, China Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and even Thai Airways. It is lagging, but it is nevertheless slowly recovering.

The airline in April carried a total of 40,823 passengers, which is an increase of 82.2% year-on-year.

The Hong Kong flag carrier has now welcomed 127,403 passengers over the year 2022, an increase of 37.8% on the same time period in 2021.

Lam: Positive Developments…

Cathay’s Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, Ronald Lam, said: “April saw some positive developments for our travel business with improved demand across our network.”

“Following the lifting of the ban on inbound flights from nine countries on April 1st, in addition to the adjustment of the quarantine period from 14 to seven days for travelers arriving in Hong Kong, we saw increased demand among residents wishing to return home to the city, in particular from the UK.”

The airline’s cargo division unsurprisingly performed better than the passenger business. It carried 26.3% more cargo than last year at 92,361 tonnes. In April however, Cathay’s cargo revenue tonne kilometers (RFTKs) decreased 13.2% year on year.

Ronald Lam added: “Our flight capacity continued to recover in April as we maximized regional frequencies and resumed freighter services to Frankfurt – the first freighter flights we have operated to Europe since the end of December last year.”

“Nevertheless, our cargo flight capacity remained about 29% of our pre-pandemic capacity. Demand remained healthy, with machine parts and industrial products from Northeast Asia and the Americas particularly active.”

The airline’s cargo network become busier in the upcoming months.

The carrier plans to return to long-haul freight operations to destinations in Europe, and the Americas, also to the Middle East like UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Despite marking significant recovery numbers, Cathay’s passenger number is still a far cry from reaching its pre-covid capacity. Last month, Cathay’s passenger traffic number was down 98.7% compared to April 2019, due to covid restrictions.

Ronald Lam added: “We launched additional frequencies, providing more and better connections for our transit passengers. In addition to ongoing demand from the Chinese Mainland, transit traffic going to and from other destinations in Asia also picked up.”

“On April 29th, we carried 2,805 passengers in total, which was the highest since August 4th, 2021.”

Better Liquidity

As Hong Kong slowly relaxes its covid travel restrictions, the airline expects to reduce its cash burn to less than $64 million over the upcoming months.

Cathay is planning to relaunch key routes in its network, including destinations in Australia, India, and the United States.

Cathay stated that: “The recent adjustments to the government’s travel restrictions and quarantine requirements will help facilitate the gradual resumption of travel activities and the strengthening of network connectivity to and from the Hong Kong aviation hub.”

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