, Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific total passengers soar over 4,100% for January 2023  

Increased travelling to Mainland China and large leisure travel demands were the causes.

Cathay Pacific carried a total of 1,031,893 passengers during January 2023, a 4,077.9% increase compared to the total of passengers carried last January 2022. The rise in numbers showed positive signs that the airline continues to rebuild and restore connectivity at the Hong Kong international aviation hub.

Their released traffic figures also revealed a 3,807.3% increase in their revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) for the same month to 4,548,192.

The airline’s passenger load factor also saw a boost in numbers with a 46.4 percentage point rise to 86.8%, while its capacity, which was measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), also grew by 1,717.1% to 5,242,810 during the last month.

For Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau, one of the reasons behind the increase is the fact that there are many travellers from and through Hong Kong who want to go to Mainland China following the return of quarantine-free travel last 8 January.

“We have been increasing our flights accordingly and by the end of the month, we were operating up to three return flights per day to Shanghai and 11 return flights per week to Beijing,” Lau said.

Also seen as the cause of the rise is the strong demand for leisure travel during the Lunar New Year holiday, particularly from Hong Kong, with Japan, Bangkok in Thailand, and Singapore being the most popular destinations.


For cargo, Cathay Pacific carried a total of 95,139 tonnes during January 2023, a 28.1% increase compared with January 2022, when they suspend their long-haul schedule for seven days due to stricter quarantine measures, while the cargo revenue tonne kilometres (RFTKs) grew 140.9%.

However, the cargo load factor decreased by 14.4 percentage points to 62.6%, but the capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (AFTKs) increased by 196.8%

According to Lau, the increase was caused by a small uptick in demand prior to the Lunar New Year holiday, which was supported by cross-border trucking services which were allowed after the pandemic situation within Mainland China was stabilised. 

“However, as we approached the Lunar New Year period, overall demand softened as factories closed for the holidays. This drop-off was expected and we rationalised our freighter capacity in advance to reflect the reduced demand,” Lau said.

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