The Cathay Pacific Group carried a higher number of passengers in July compared to the month of June, as transit passengers increased passenger volume for the group’s airlines last month.

In the group’s latest traffic figures, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon said they carried a total of 42,984 passengers last month, a decrease of 98.7 per cent compared to July 2019, showing the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has decimated demand for air travel.

In June, the airlines carried a a total of 27,106 passengers, a decrease of 99.1 per cent compared to June 2019.

‚ÄúPassenger volume showed signs of slight improvement in the beginning of July, fuelled by a boost in the number of transit passengers via Hong Kong. We increased our passenger flights by a slight amount to approximately 7 per cent of the normal capacity, up from about 4 per cent in June, and gradually resumed some services to Chengdu, Xiamen, Frankfurt and Toronto,” said Cathay Pacific Group Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam.

Lam notes that demand for travel decreased towards the end of the month due to a resurgence of Covid-19 cases “in numerous countries”.

“As a result, passenger volume increased at a lower rate than capacity for July, and load factor further dipped to 23.4 per cent. There were a few services that performed better than expected comparatively, notably Xiamen,” he said.

The airlines have adjusted their passenger flights for August to approximately 8 per percent of pre-Covid-19 levels. Lam said that the airlines will operate at a similar level in September.

Transit services at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) for passengers from airports in mainland China resumed on August 15.

“This will help enhance our passenger volume via the Hong Kong hub, and offer essential connections from the Chinese mainland to different parts of the world,” said Lam.

Earlier this month, Cathay reported a loss of HK$9.9 billion (US$1.27 billion) for the first half of this year.

In June, the airline announced a HK$39 billion (US$5 billion) recapitalisation plan led by the Hong Kong government. The airline said this plan was completed last week.

Cathay Pacific reports record half-year loss