Cathay Pacific has reported a huge 3,467% year-on-year increase in passenger numbers for February, helped by the Asia-Pacific region fully re-opening after the Covid crisis.
The Hong Kong flag carrier carried just over 1.1 million passengers last month, with load factor – which measures how full planes are – up to more than 86%.
Cathay Pacific chief customer and commercial officer Lavinia Lau said: “We are pleased to see that our positive start to 2023 continued in February. Passenger numbers further improved after the Lunar New Year holidays; we carried more than 1.1 million passengers last month averaging almost 40,000 per day. We continued to add more flights and destinations, with February seeing passenger flight capacity increase about 6% month-on-month as well as the resumption of our Wenzhou flights.
“Travel demand overall remained strong across our network, especially traffic to and from the Chinese Mainland via the Hong Kong hub. We also saw strong demand on our Taipei and Kaohsiung routes in the last week of February after the lifting of all travel restrictions on Hong Kong and Macau residents. We are pleased to see that demand is also growing for premium travel for both business and leisure purposes.”
Ms Lau said the outlook for continued strong growth remains good.
“Turning to March and beyond, we are making good progress in increasing our capacity and rebuilding connectivity at the Hong Kong international aviation hub. By the end of March, the Cathay Group will be operating approximately 50% of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity, covering more than 70 destinations.
“We continue to add more flights to our schedule, in particular for some of our most popular destinations. London will start to see five return flights a day on select days from April. For Japan, we plan to step up from the current 73 to 120 return flights per week by the summer peak. Meanwhile, for the Chinese Mainland, we aim to operate more than 110 return flights per week to 15 cities by the end of this month, including resuming services to Shanghai Hongqiao airport, which will be welcomed by business travellers, and Haikou.
“Customers travelling between Beijing and Hong Kong can also look forward to the return of First class on select flights starting from 26 March, following the recent reopening of our popular Cathay Pacific Lounge at Beijing Capital International Airport. First class will also return on select Los Angeles flights from 26 March.”