Cathay’s April performance improves

HONG KONG, 17 May 2022: Adjustments to the government’s travel restrictions and quarantine requirements should encourage the gradual resumption of travel activities and strengthen network connectivity to and from the Hong Kong aviation hub, the airline said in its marketing outlook attached to its traffic figures for April 2022.

“We will actively resume more flights to more destinations in the coming months. Our flight arrangements from early June notably include daily flights to and from London Heathrow (LHR). We will also be resuming or increasing passenger flights for a number of important markets, including the US, Australia, New Zealand and India,” the airline said in the media statement.

According to the airline’s April 2022 traffic figures released last Friday, Cathay Pacific carried 40,823 passengers last month, an increase of 82.2% compared to April 2021 but a 98.7% decrease compared to the pre-pandemic level in April 2019.

The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 60.7% year-on-year but were down 98.5% versus April 2019. Passenger load factor increased by 31.5 percentage points to 55.6%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), decreased by 30.2% year-on-year and decreased by 97.7% compared with April 2019 levels. In the first four months of 2022, passengers increased by 37.8% against a 60.1% decrease in capacity and a 15.8% increase in RPKs, as compared to the same period for 2021.

The airline’s chief customer and commercial officer, Ronald Lam said: “April saw some positive developments for our travel business with improved demand across our network. Following the lifting of the ban on inbound flights from nine countries on 1 April, in addition to the adjustment of the quarantine period from 14 to seven days for travellers arriving in Hong Kong, we saw increased demand among residents wishing to return home to the city, in particular from the UK. In view of this stronger demand, we increased our passenger flight capacity by about 25% compared with March, although we still only operated about 2% of our pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity last month.

“We launched additional frequencies, providing more and better connections for our transit passengers. In addition to ongoing demand from the Chinese Mainland, transit traffic going to and from other destinations in Asia also picked up. On 29 April, we carried 2,805 passengers in total, which was the highest since 4 August 2021. Conversely, we further reduced our frequencies to the Chinese Mainland in view of the Covid-19 situation in Shanghai.

Outlook

The airline said it would continue to look for opportunities to add back capacity and rebuild its Hong Kong hub and network. It expects additional capacity to positively impact Cathay Pacific’s business, benefit operations and improve its cost base.

“According to preliminary assessment, we are targeting to reduce operating cash burn to less than HKD0.5 billion per month for the next few months,” Lam concluded.

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