Passenger volumes shot up by a whopping 425 percent compared to the same period last year, though it reached just 15 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
Monthly passenger numbers for Hong Kong’s flag carrier have crossed the 400,000 mark for the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, in large part due to the cancellation of mandatory quarantine for all incoming travelers at the end of September. Cathay Pacific carried a total of 400,909 people last month, one and a half times the 265,845 recorded this September, when it transported marginally more flyers than in August.
The airline’s Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, Ronald Lam, said in a statement that as travel sentiment out of Hong Kong improved significantly with the loosening of restrictions, Cathay Pacific increased regional flight frequencies in response to a wave of new bookings on the most popular routes. “Demand for the first half of October mainly stemmed from flights to Bangkok, Singapore, and Seoul. We then saw a surge in demand for travel to Japan when its quarantine requirements for arrivals were relaxed on 11 October.”
Lam also said that passenger flight capacity increased by 32 percent compared to September, and Cathay operated 21 percent of its pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity levels. Passenger numbers went up to nearly 13,000 per day, up from over 8,800 in September; the overall load factor reached about 74 percent. Since around 3,000 additional passenger flights have been scheduled from October through December, Cathay Pacific Group is now on track to reach its goal of operating up to one-third of 2019 flight capacity levels by the end of the year. Lam struck an optimistic note, adding that travel demand for the remainder of 2022 was showing continued improvement, with a “promising” outlook for the Christmas holiday period.