Cathay Pacific Releases December 2022 Traffic Figures

Passenger volumes skyrocketed by 768 percent compared to the same period last year, though it reached just a quarter of pre-pandemic levels.

A Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 aircraft on the tarmac in Hong Kong. (Photo: Cathay Pacific)

Monthly passenger numbers for Hong Kong’s flag carrier are inching closer toward the milestone of one million, with conditions expected to only get better thanks to the recent reopening of mainland China and the lifting of all curbs on international flights by authorities in Beijing. Cathay Pacific carried a total of 801,088 people last month, a 52 percent increase from the 526,827 recorded in November and double October’s figure of 400,909.

Ronald Lam, the airline’s newly promoted CEO and former Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, said in a statement, “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 percent of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity levels.”

He added that Cathay saw “overwhelming” demand for travel out of Hong Kong to short-haul leisure destinations, with over 25,800 passengers per day on average last month, up from about 17,600 in November. The overall load factor increased to 83.3 percent, compared to just over 78 percent the month before. The carrier resumed services to more destinations in December, including Sapporo, Fukuoka, Penang, and Dhaka, ending the year with close to 60 destinations in its network — double the 29 it flew to in January 2022. Last year, the number of flyers carried by Cathay Pacific increased by 291 percent on 2021 levels.

Lam also noted the trend of ongoing improvement in the Cathay Pacific Group’s financial performance, saying that “progressive relaxations to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in Hong Kong enabled us to be operating cash generative overall in the second half of 2022.” Following the return of quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and mainland China, the surging demand for travel in both directions is prompting Cathay Pacific to add more flights and more destinations as quickly as possible.

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