Cathay Pacific Releases August 2022 Traffic Figures

Passenger volumes rose 87 percent compared to the same period last year, though the number was still down by more than 91 percent from pre-pandemic levels.

A Cathay Pacific A350-1000 aircraft at Hong Kong International Airport. (Photo: Cathay Pacific)

Amid the excited chatter that Hong Kong may be ending mandatory hotel quarantine before November — with the much-anticipated announcement potentially being made as soon as this week — the city’s flag carrier is continuing its gradual post-pandemic recovery. Cathay Pacific carried a total of 253,907 passengers last month, over 34,000 more than July’s figure and a dramatic percent increase from the 150,077 recorded in June.

In a statement, the airline’s Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said, “Average daily passenger numbers further increased month on month and exceeded 8,000. Passenger flight capacity increased 28 percent compared with July, although we still only operated about 16 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, load factor remained high at close to 69 percent.”

August 12 saw hotel quarantines for travelers reduced from seven to three days, driving greater demand for long-haul traffic into Hong Kong from the United States, Canada, and Europe. While passenger capacity between the city and Mainland China is still restricted, the carrier has managed to resume regular flights to Qingdao, Xiamen, and Zhengzhou last month. Farther afield, Cathay also restarted nonstop services to Chicago and Boston; students from Mainland China accounted for a significant proportion of traffic in August, with U.S.-bound flights seeing load factors as high as 80 percent.

Hong Kong authorities have recently relaxed quarantine rules for locally based aircrew, giving Cathay Pacific much-needed room to add back more flights “as quickly as is feasible,” though the process of training and aircraft reactivation will require a period of several months. Airline executives expect demand to remain strong going into the fourth quarter, with high levels of transit traffic between the Americas and Southeast Asia and India.

“We intend to add about 200 pairs of passenger flights in October, primarily to regional destinations such as Osaka, Seoul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Manila, and also to long-haul destinations such as Vancouver, Sydney, and Melbourne,” Lam added. “As such, we are now projecting by the end of the year to be able to operate about one-third of our pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity — about double the passenger flight capacity we operated in August.”

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