CX reports an uptick in passengers

HONG KONG, 18 August  2022: Cathay Pacific released its traffic figures for July 2022 on Tuesday, showing it carried 219,746 passengers during the month, representing an increase of 306.2% compared with the same month in 2021.

The airline claimed July’s traffic figures continued to “reflect the positive impact of further adjustments to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.”

Despite the optimism, passenger traffic in July was still down 93.3% when compared to the pre-pandemic level in July 2019.

The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 348.4% year-on-year but were down 89.4% versus July 2019. Passenger load factor increased by 44.7 percentage points to 73.3%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 74.6% year-on-year but decreased by 87.6% compared with July 2019 levels. In the first seven months of 2022, the number of passengers carried increased by 162.8% against a 6.3% decrease in capacity and a 189.8% increase in RPKs, compared to the same period for 2021.

The airline carried 100,714 tonnes of cargo last month, a decrease of 17.2% compared to July 2021 and a 40.7% decrease compared with the same period in 2019.

The month’s cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) decreased 27.5% year-on-year and were down 42.6% compared to July 2019. The cargo load factor decreased by 10.8 percentage points to 71%, while capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was down by 16.4% year-on-year and 48.9% versus July 2019. In the first seven months of 2022, the tonnage decreased by 6.6% against a 28.3% drop in capacity and a 34.2% decrease in RFTKs, as compared to the same period for 2021.


Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam commented: “We continued adding more passenger flight capacity in July in light of the Hong Kong SAR Government’s progressive travel and quarantine restrictions adjustments. Capacity increased by 24% compared to June, although it remained low at 12.4% of the pre-pandemic level. Passenger volume increased to an average of over 7,000 per day. Meanwhile, the passenger load factor reached 73.3% – the highest it’s been since the start of the pandemic.

“The additional capacity we were able to operate provided enhanced connectivity options for our customers transiting through the Hong Kong hub, with demand from the Chinese Mainland to Australia and the US particularly robust. We also saw strong demand on our UK routes, especially from students returning to Hong Kong. As many of these flights were full, some student traffic shifted to our other European gateways, such as Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Meanwhile, we were able to resume carrying passengers to Fuzhou, Nanjing and Wuhan in the Chinese Mainland again, following adjustments to local capacity restrictions.”


As CX looks forward, the latest adjustments to quarantine arrangements for passengers arriving in Hong Kong should positively impact inbound traffic and leisure travel among Hong Kong residents, according to Lam.

“Student traffic to the US and UK is also expected to provide our travel business with a strong boost in August and September. However, our ability to add more passenger flight capacity will remain limited unless the restrictions on our aircrew are lifted,” he explained.