Cathay Pacific has announced plans for a “substantial increase” in flights to London Heathrow in November and December.

The airline says that an additional 31,500 seats will be offered over the two months, and that it will operate four flights a day on certain days in December.

Additionally, Cathay confirmed that it will resume its first class offering from December 5 on its CX251 and CX252 services operated by B777-300ER aircraft.

The news was released as part of the airline’s traffic figures for September, with Cathay reporting a positive outlook owing to the lifting of travel and quarantine restrictions in Hong Kong.

Cathay carried a total of 265,845 passengers last month, an increase of 101.7 per cent compared to the same month last year but an 89 per cent decrease on pre-pandemic levels.

Chief customer and commercial officer, Ronal Lam, commented:

“Cathay Pacific’s travel business continued to show improvement in September, helped by student traffic from both Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland. Overall passenger numbers further increased month-on-month to over 8,800 per day, while load factor was 72.5%. Passenger flight capacity stood at about 16% of pre-pandemic levels…

“Aside from student traffic, inbound traffic to Hong Kong also improved, largely driven by demand from the US and Canada. The removal of hotel quarantine arrangements for passengers arriving in Hong Kong was a very welcome development that has helped boost sentiment for travel. In the last week of September, we saw a considerable increase in demand for flights to Singapore, Bangkok and Seoul.”

Cathay Pacific has resumed flights to five destinations this month (Madrid, Milan, Dubai, Kathmandub and Bengaluru), bringing its total number of destinations to 51 in October.

The airline aims to double the number of destinations offered by the end of the year compared with the 29 operated in January, and says it is “on course to achieving that”.