Cathay Pacific has released its latest traffic figures for January 2022, showing that the airline carried an average of just 797 customers per day over the month.

Cathay flew a total of 24,699 passengers during January, down 99.2 per cent on January 2019, as the carrier was forced to operate a skeleton service following continued travel restrictions and changes to quarantine rules for crew members by Hong Kong authorities.

Chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam said that Cathay had experienced “a very difficult start to 2022, with the accelerated spread of the Omicron variant and the further tightening of travel and operational restrictions, notably stricter quarantine requirements for Hong Kong-based aircrew”.

“Both inbound and transit traffic were limited by the enhanced restrictions imposed by the Hong Kong SAR Government, while outbound demand also remained weak,” said Lam.

“Passenger traffic in January was largely generated from ex-Chinese Mainland flights via the Hong Kong hub to long-haul destinations in Australia, the US and the UK. We also saw some pre-Lunar New Year traffic between the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong.”

Lam said that Cathay would continue to operate “a highly reduced passenger flight schedule” until at least the end of March “in view of the extension of quarantine measures for Hong Kong-based aircrew, the flight-specific and place-specific suspension mechanism as well as the transit ban by the Hong Kong SAR Government”.

The carrier expects to operate around 2 per cent of pre-Covid passenger capacity while the current restrictions remain in place, with Lam stating that “We will continue to strive to maintain passenger connectivity to key destinations as much as possible, although we are currently not seeing any signs of significant recovery in passenger travel demand”.

Despite the substantial reduction in traffic, Cathay reopened its Heathrow lounge in January, located near gate 11 at Terminal 3.

Cathay Pacific reopens London Heathrow lounge