Hong Kong’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific has narrowed its half-year loss despite being among the worst hit worldwide by strict COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“The Cathay Pacific Group had an extremely difficult start to 2022,” said Patrick Healy, chairman at Cathay Pacific Group.
Healy added: “However, the Hong Kong SAR Government’s adjustments in travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which came into effect on 1st May, resulted in a better-than-expected monthly cash performance, such that we were operating cash generative towards the end of the first half of the year.”
In H1 2022, Cathay Pacific reported a net loss of HK$ 4.9 billion (US$ 624 million), a significant improvement compared to a net loss of HK$ 7.6 billion (US$ 968 million) in the first half of 2021.
Looking ahead, the carrier expects stronger financial results in the second half of 2022. Expecting greater travel demand, Cathay Pacific plans to hire more than 4,000 employees to meet the airline’s operational needs over the next 18-24 months.
The airline also expects to return to 25% of pre-COVID passenger capacity and 65% of pre-COVID cargo capacity by the end of 2022.
In H1 2022, Cathay Pacific carried a total of 335,000 passengers, an average of 1,853 passengers per day, which was 113.4% more than the same period last year.
Despite the growing passenger numbers in H1, Cathay Pacific has been among the worst hit worldwide by strict COVID-19 travel restrictions in Hong Kong and mainland China.
Beginning August 12, 2022, Hong Kong will ease hotel quarantine from seven to three days, the city’s leader John Lee revealed.
In a statement to AeroTime, the airline said that it welcomed Hong Kong’s decision to loosen hotel quarantine requirements for overseas passengers but also called for a plan for the complete removal of all travel restrictions when possible.