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Pandemic restrictions continue to stifle Cathay Pacific carryings

Strict ongoing Hong Kong travel curbs meant that Cathay Pacific operated less than 2% of pre-Covid passenger capacity in February, with little prospect of recovery this month.

The level in February was about 28% down on January, although the airline carried more passengers month-on-month.

Total carryings of 31,253 were up 48% but still 98.9% down on the pre-pandemic level in February 2019.

The traffic figures for February continued to reflect the airline’s “substantial capacity reductions” in response to reduced demand as well as travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in place in Hong Kong and other markets amid the ongoing global pandemic.”

Chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said: “The operating environment for Cathay Pacific remains very challenging.

“Travel and operational restrictions in place in Hong Kong continued to constrain our ability to operate more passenger flight capacity in February and we operated below 2% of pre-Covid-19 levels, a reduction of about 28% compared with January 2022.

“We have remained as agile as possible, deploying passenger flight capacity to cater to last-minute demand, on top of ongoing traffic from the Chinese mainland to long-haul destinations as well as post-Chinese New Year traffic from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland.

“We also saw some demand for flights to Australia, notably student traffic from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong.

“As a result, we carried more passengers in February than we did in January. Load factor edged up to reach about 48%.”

He added: ”Looking ahead in March, on the travel side we originally expected that the majority of passenger traffic would continue to come from our Chinese mainland routes.

“However, stricter capacity restrictions have since been put in place by the Chinese mainland authorities as part of their pandemic control measures.

“These, together with the current restrictions in Hong Kong, mean that we do not foresee significant signs of recovery in passenger travel demand in March.”

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