Cathay Pacific expects a first-half profit for the first time since 2019

Cathay Pacific expects to end the first six months of 2023 profitably, its first six-month profit since H2 2021
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Cathay Pacific is optimistic about its future prospects, with the airline expecting to end the first half of the year with a positive financial result. 

“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,” said Lavinia Lau, the Chief Customer and Commercial Officer of Cathay Pacific. According to Lau, with the airline also reducing its stake in Air China from 18.13% to 16.26%, it will make a non-cash gain of around HKD1.9 billion ($242.6 million). 

“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,” added Lau, in reviewing the airline’s May 2023 traffic results.  

Overall, Cathay Pacific carried 1.4 million passengers in May 2023, with Year-to-Date (YTD) passenger numbers totaling 3.2 million. The average load factor throughout the month was 85.1%, with the YTD load factor being 87.1%. 

The airline’s passenger numbers during May 2023 and YTD rose a staggering 2345% and 3281% compared to the same period in 2022, with lockdowns ending in China and Hong Kong. Out of the total of 5.8 billion Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK), which measures demand, the majority came from North America (1.5 billion) and Europe (1.4 billion). Cathay’s third-largest market during May 2023 was South East Asia, with 767.8 million RPKs. 

“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 concluded. 

If the airline were to end the first six months of 2023 profitably, it would mark its first profitable H1 since 2019, when the airline ended the period with a net profit of HKD1.3 billion ($166 million). Cathay Pacific ended 2019 with a net profit of HKD1.6 billion ($204.3 million). 

Between 2020 and 2022, its only profitable period was H2 2021, when the airline group ended the second half of the year with a net profit of HKD2 billion ($255.4 million). 

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