Passenger numbers rose more than 82 percent compared to the same period last year, though the figure was still down by nearly 99 percent from pre-pandemic levels.
Though Hong Kong has some way to go before a full, quarantine-free border reopening, the worst days for its home airline appear to be over. Cathay Pacific carried a total of 40,823 passengers last month, significantly more than the 30,628 recorded in March, and a 30 precent increase on February’s figures.
In a statement, Cathay Pacific’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 1 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 U.K.”
Lam added that passenger flight capacity increased by about 25 percent compared to March, but as a whole it remained at only two percent of the carrier’s pre-pandemic flight capacity. He said the improved numbers were partly driven by ongoing demand from Mainland China, on top of higher transit traffic going to and from other destinations in Asia. On April 29, Cathay Pacific carried 2,805 passengers in total, the highest figure since August 4, 2021.
The outlook for Hong Kong’s flag carrier is brighter now that quarantine periods for passenger air crews have been cut from seven to three days, and local authorities have relaxed the controversial flight suspension mechanism. These changes have allowed Cathay to operate more services across the board: schedules from early June include daily flights to and from London Heathrow, and the airline is also resuming services to Auckland and stepping up frequencies to key markets such as Australia, India, and the United States next month. Melbourne will see Cathay planes touch down as much as five times a week, while Sydney will receive daily flights. Delhi and Mumbai will be served at least twice a week.