Cathay Pacific does not expect a significant recovery in travel demand in March

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By Yongchang Chin

Cathay Pacific’s operating environment is expected to remain “very challenging” amid China’s Covid-19 restrictions, the airline said on Monday.

“We do not expect significant signs of a recovery in passenger travel demand in March,” the Hong Kong flag carrier said.

The airline carried 31,253 passengers in February, 47.9% more than a year ago, due to demand for long-haul travel from Hong Kong to mainland China amid the post- Lunar New Year as well as international students heading to Australia, he mentioned. However, the figure was still 98.9% lower than in February 2019 before the pandemic, the airline added.

Cathay Pacific’s passenger load factor in February increased 33.8 percentage points to 47.6%.

The quarantine measures have also hurt the airline’s cargo business, with the airline still operating a reduced long-haul cargo schedule, he said. Cathay Pacific was operating at around 25% of pre-Covid-19 cargo flight capacity in February.

“The tighter requirements for cross-border trucking between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, as well as the surge in Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong, have reduced demand from our domestic market,” he said. .

That said, Cathay Pacific had resumed cargo services to places like Atlanta, Houston and Miami in the US, and added that it was looking to increase its capacity for long-haul cargo flights where possible.

The February freight load factor for Cathay Pacific increased 0.9 percentage points year on year to 80.5%.

The airline carried 65,126 tonnes of cargo last month, down 20.9% from February 2021.

Write to Yongchang Chin at [email protected]

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