June 29 2023  |  Airline & Terminal News

Cathay Pacific records significant growth in passenger travel for May

By Reedah Hayder

Cathay Pacific received the award for World’s Best Inflight Entertainment at the 2023 World Airline Awards organized by Skytrax

Cathay Pacific has announced its traffic figures for the month of May 2023, demonstrating continued progress in rebuilding flight connectivity at the Hong Kong international aviation hub.

“May was another good month for our travel business,” said Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau in a June 23 press release. “We continued to progressively increase our passenger flight capacity and added more frequencies to popular destinations in the U.S., 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.”

In May, the airline carried a total of 1,417,906 passengers, marking a staggering increase of 2,345 percent compared to the same period in 2022. The month’s revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) also witnessed a remarkable upswing of 1,664 percent year on year, indicating a resurgence in air travel demand. Moreover, the passenger load factor experienced a significant boost, rising by 24.7 percentage points to reach an impressive 85.1 percent. In terms of capacity, measured in available seat kilometers (ASKs), there was a remarkable year-on-year increase of 1,152 percent.

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

In the first five months of the year, the airline witnessed a substantial increase in passenger numbers, with a staggering growth of 3,281 percent compared to the same period in 2022. Capacity also experienced a significant rise of 1,786 percent, while RPKs surged by 3,062 percent.

“On the customer experience side, we were thrilled to receive the award for World’s Best Inflight Entertainment at the 2023 World Airline Awards organized 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. We ranked number eight overall in the World’s Best Airlines category. This is in addition to our Top 10 ranking on AirlineRatings.com. Getting back into the Top 10 in both of these prestigious awards after the pandemic means a lot to us and provides the momentum for our teams to work even harder toward building a premium customer experience.”

“The Cathay Group has seen a strong rebound in the performance of our airlines. Our cash flow has continued to improve; further to being overall operating cash generative in 2022, the Group has been operating cash generative so far in 2023. In addition, as mentioned in our 2022 Annual Report, the Group will recognize a one-off non-cash gain, estimated to be approximately HK$1.9 billion (USD $243M), in the first half of 2023 as a result of a deemed disposal of our interest in Air China Limited from 18.13 percent to 16.26 percent. 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.”

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