Travel restrictions

Cathay sees continued pressure from Hong Kong travel restrictions | New

Hong Kong travel restrictions continue to hamper flag carrier Cathay Pacific’s traffic performance, but there are marginal signs of improvement, including a narrower half-year loss forecast.

Recent adjustments to Hong Kong travel restrictions began impacting traffic figures in May, the airline said.

During the month, it carried 57,982 passengers, more than double the number carried in May 2021, but still 98% lower than in May 2019.

“The introduction of further adjustments to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in Hong Kong from May 1 was a welcome development, although our activities during the month remained limited,” said Ronald Lam, Director of customer and sales manager.

“We increased our passenger flight capacity by 78% compared to April, but we still only operated around 4% of our pre-pandemic levels. Traffic volume in terms of RPK increased by 94% month-on-month, mainly driven by long-haul flights. As a result, the overall load factor reached 60.5%. »

Although Hong Kong has reduced quarantines for incoming travelers, the Special Administrative Region remains closely aligned with China’s “Zero-Covid” policy, which aims to quell all local outbreaks.

Cargo carried in May was flat compared to the previous year, with May ATKs falling 25% year-over-year.

The extension of the Covid-19 lockdown in Shanghai until May continued to hurt freight demand, but towards the end of May things picked up speed as restrictions eased in the Chinese city.

“As for Hong Kong, volumes have improved as cross-border collection services between Shenzhen and Hong Kong have allowed for a more stable flow of freight, although it remains below the capacity available before the fifth wave of Covid-19 at Hong Kong,” Lam added.

“Demand from other parts of our network remained relatively strong throughout the month. Overall, in May, we operated approximately 34% of our pre-pandemic cargo flight capacity, while the load factor was 75.7%. »

Cathay adds that the addition of flight capacity in the second quarter, along with continued strength in the cargo market, will help it reduce its losses for the first half of 2022.