On June 18, 2021, Cathay Pacific announced that it began “cautiously” adding more flights and destinations, expecting the first half of 2021 results to be better than both the first and second halves of 2020. 

“We have begun cautiously adding more flights and destinations to our schedule. There was a small 6.6% month-on-month increase in passenger capacity in May with the resumption of services to Fuzhou, Hangzhou and Dubai,” Cathay Pacific Group Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said.

“We saw increasing demand for our UK services throughout the month. On 8 May, we operated our first scheduled flight from London since December last year,” Lam added.

Cathay Pacific carried a total of 24,006 passengers in May 2021, an increase of 30% compared to May 2020, but a 99.2% decrease compared to the pre-pandemic levels in May 2019. 

The Hong Kong-based air carrier, which lacks a domestic market, has suffered substantial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic which caused the collapse of international air travel demand. Cathay Pacific has already laid off 5,900 employees in 2020. As per planespotters.net data, out of 174 aircraft in its fleet, 108 are currently parked.

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 Cathay Pacific asked flight crew, cabin crew, and Hong Kong International Airport staff to take voluntary redundancy.
 

However, looking into the future, Cathay Pacific said it was expecting to trim its losses in the first half of 2021, prompting speculations that the ailing air carrier is starting to slowly recover from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic impact. 

“With the cost-saving measures implemented in 2020 (which are continuing) and a strong underlying cargo performance, our losses in the first half of 2021, while still very substantial, are expected to be somewhat lower than the losses reported in both the first and second halves of 2020,” Lam explained.
 

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Cathay Pacific is in the works with Airbus to develop a single-pilot system for long-haul operations on Airbus A350 aircraft.