DALLAS — Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) has announced that it flew over one million passengers in January. This is the first time in almost three years that the airline has flown over a million passengers in a month, and it comes as the airline is increasing capacity in the next few months as travel restrictions have eased.
The airline said that it saw a spike in demand for flights between Mainland China and Hong Kong. This culminated with the Lunar New Year holidays at the end of January gave the airline a boost in travel demand. The carrier added that Japan, Singapore, and Bangkok were the most popular destinations.
On January 8, China stopped most of its COVID-19 travel restrictions, including the necessary quarantine for arriving passengers. This occurred as international travel demand began to return to pre-pandemic levels.
In January 2023, the airline flew 1.03 million passengers, which is almost a 29% increase compared to December 2022. It is also a significant increase from the 25,000 passengers the airline flew in January 2022.
According to the airline, traffic in 2022 was 38% higher than in 2021, with capacity rising by 18%. Cathay also expects travel demand to increase in the next few months, as it will ramp up flights between Hong Kong and Mainland China to around 100 weekly flights.
Comments from Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau commented, “Looking at February and beyond, we are working hard to increase our passenger flight capacity as much as possible over the coming months, especially in the lead-up to the Easter holiday. Demand for flights to and from the Chinese Mainland, both for point-to-point and connecting traffic via Hong Kong, is expected to grow, and we are endeavoring to provide more options for our customers as quickly as feasible. We are on track to operate more than 100 return flights per week to 14 cities in the Chinese Mainland by the end of this month.”
The carrier’s cargo operation also increased in January as Cathay Pacific Cargo flew over 95,000 tons of freight. According to the airline, this was a 28% increase yearly. With that said, compared to December 2022, cargo in January was down 11%, partly because of the closure of factories in mainland China during the Lunar New Year holidays.
Regarding cargo, Lau added, “Regarding cargo, demand will take some time to recover following the Lunar New Year holidays. We expect regional lanes to resume earlier than long-haul lanes, as is typical for this period.”
B-KPR Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER KLAX/LAX. Photo: Tony Bordelais/Airways