Cathay Pacific has released its latest traffic figures, showing a continued recovery following the removal of Covid-19 restrictions in Hong Kong.
The airline carried a total of 1,031,893 customers in January 2023 – the first time it has recorded over one million monthly passengers since the start of the pandemic.
The figure represents an increase of 4,077.9 per cent on January 2022, when Cathay carried 24,699 passengers over the month, or an average of just 797 customers per day.
The group has been steadily ramping up its schedules, and expects to reach 70 per cent capacity by the end of 2023, with a return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024.
The airline recently reopened The Deck lounge at Hong Kong International airport, and plans to resume operations at its Singapore Changi and Tokyo Narita lounges this month.
Commenting on the news Cathay’s chief customer and commercial officer Lavinia Lau said:
“The new year got off to a positive start in January as Cathay Pacific carried more than one million passengers for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
“We carried on average more than 33,000 passengers per day, up from about 26,000 per day in December 2022, and operated 18 per cent more capacity than we did in December. We also continued to add more destinations in January, with our Phuket and Xi’an flights resuming.
“With the return of quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland on January 8, we saw increased demand for travel into the Chinese Mainland, both from and through Hong Kong.
“We have been increasing our flights accordingly and by the end of the month, we were operating up to three return flights per day to Shanghai and 11 return flights per week to Beijing.
“Leisure travel demand over the Lunar New Year holiday was also strong, particularly from Hong Kong, with Japan, Bangkok and Singapore being the most popular destinations.
“Unfortunately, despite demand being high for Japan, we had to cancel some of our flights due to restrictions imposed by the Japanese authorities on the number of flights airlines are permitted to operate from Hong Kong.
“Looking at February and beyond, we are working hard to increase our passenger flight capacity as much as possible over the coming months, especially in the lead-up to the Easter holiday.
“Demand for flights to and from the Chinese Mainland, both for point-to-point and connecting traffic via Hong Kong, is expected to grow and we are endeavouring to provide more options for our customers as quickly as feasible.
“We are on track to operate more than 100 return flights per week to 14 cities in the Chinese Mainland by the end of this month.”