Oneworld alliance member Cathay Pacific Airways has released its traffic figures for May 2023, which show the airline continues to make good progress as it rebuilds flight connectivity at its Hong Kong international aviation hub.

Cathay Pacific carried a total of 1,417,906 passengers last month, an increase of 2,345 per cent compared with May 2022. The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 1,664 per cent year on year.

Passenger load factor increased by 24.7 percentage points to 85.1 per cent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 1,152 per cent year on year.

In the first five months of 2023, the number of passengers carried increased by 3,281 per cent against a 1,786 per cent increase in capacity and a 3,062 per cent increase in RPKs, as compared with the same period for 2022.

Chief customer and commercial officer Lavinia Lau commented: “May was another good month for our travel business. We continued to progressively increase our passenger flight capacity and added more frequencies to popular destinations in the US, South Asia and Japan.

“Although demand reduced temporarily following the Easter holiday peak, it picked up again over the Buddha’s Birthday holiday weekend towards the end of May, with travel to Japan and Thailand being particularly popular. Transit traffic via the Hong Kong hub was also encouraging with considerable demand to and from the Chinese Mainland.

“The peak summer season looks promising as we expect to get a boost from students returning to Hong Kong after the school term ends. On rebuilding our network, we will bring back the seasonal Christchurch service from 16 December 2023 through to 29 February 2024 with three return flights per week, following the earlier announcement of service resumption to Johannesburg and Chicago from August and October 2023, respectively.

“On the customer experience side, we were thrilled to receive the award for World’s Best Inflight Entertainment at the 2023 World Airline Awards organised by Skytrax. We place immense importance on providing an excellent inflight entertainment experience for our customers and are honoured to receive their vote of approval.

Cathay says it has seen a strong rebound in the performance of its group airlines. Its cash flow has continued to improve; further to being overall operating cash generative in 2022, the airline group has been operating cash generative so far in 2023.

The group will recognise a one-off non-cash gain, estimated to be approximately HK$1.9 billion, in the first half of 2023 as a result of a deemed disposal of its interest in Air China from 18.13 per cent to 16.26 per cent.

“Taking all of the above into account, together with the offsetting impact of the results from associates, which are reported three months in arrears, we expect that the Group will deliver a consolidated profit for the first half of 2023,” Lau concluded.